Mayor Chris Beutler today kicked off a private fundraising effort to support the City's Dog Run Master Plan. He also announced that the campaign has received a $200,000 gift from the Leonard J. and Angeleen E. Stransky Charitable Trust for a new dog park to be named in their honor at Peterson Park, 2200 Southwood Drive.
Dog runs are "off-leash" dog parks where dogs can exercise, play and socialize with other dogs under the supervision of their owners. Lincoln now has two dog runs-Rickman's Run east of Holmes Lake and one near Oak Lake. The Parks and Recreation budget provides for three new dog run areas at these locations:
"Our very popular dog runs provide a great way for dog lovers and their pets to exercise together," said Mayor Beutler. "The City plan envisions dog run in each quadrant of the City, and this campaign will help us reach that goal. The private funds will leverage our public investment and serve as another great example of a public-private partnership that's worked so well for our great parks and recreation system."
The City-funded improvements include separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, fencing, gates, parking facilities with ADA stalls, sidewalks, benches, portable restroom shelters and trees. The Friends of the Dog Parks, a local nonprofit, will partner with the Lincoln Parks Foundation to seek private funds for enhancements for the three new dog parks as well as Rickman's Run. The improvements include drinking fountains, rinsing stations and additional trees, benches, paths and trails. The campaign goal is $861,000, which includes $240,000 from the City's capital improvement budget. The new dog runs are expected to be open by the end of 2017.
Mayor Beutler thanked the Friends of Dog Parks and the Lincoln Parks Foundation and recognized the Stranskys for continuing to support the community.
"The Stranskys are a model for those who found success in Lincoln and want to continue giving back to the community in meaningful ways," Beutler said. "Even though both of them have passed, their legacy of generosity continues through their perpetual charitable trust. The trustees search for projects that can encompass the Stransky's philanthropic goals, support Lincoln residents and make the city an even better place to live, work and play. With this gift, they have again demonstrated their love and support of organizations that serve the city parks and animals."
The Stransky's were in the grocery business in Lincoln. Leonard passed away in 1998, and Angeleen passed away in 2009. Their previous gifts to the Parks Foundation include funding for improvements at Stransky Park and for the bronze elk sculpture at the north entrance to Pioneers Park.
Lyle Hansen, President of the Friends of the Dog Parks, said Lincoln currently ranks low compared to similar-sized U.S. cities for the number of dog parks per 100,000 residents.
"Dog runs offer a recreational and socialization opportunity for dogs and their owners," Hansen said. "They are a place where dogs can be dogs. Dog runs are especially beneficial to those who do not have yards or live in apartments. The current dog runs are widely popular and often overcrowded, so having a dog run in every quadrant of the City will provide greater accessibility to everyone in our community."
Friends of the Dog Parks is giving $10,000 to the campaign. Other funding partners to date include Lincoln Parks Foundation, Lincoln Cares, Pinnacle Bank and Paws 4 Fun.
The Lincoln Parks Foundation is the fiscal sponsor for the campaign. For more information about the campaign, visit LincolnParks.org/dogruns or call the Foundation at 402-441-8258.