Foundation picks dog park expansion as first project
by Glenn Moore
Mar 21, 2014 | 8128 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Foundation expands dog park
Paul Ritter (from left), Dan Schack and Dino Margaros shovel dirt from new fence post holes Monday as the Tracy Friends for Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Foundation begins an expansion of the dog park at El Pescadero Park.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A foundation striving to improve quality-of-life issues for Tracy residents is tackling an expansion of the dog park at El Pescadero Park as its initial project.

The Tracy Friends for Parks Recreation and Community Services Foundation sat dormant for several years before launching its new project Monday.

Originally incorporated in 1992, the group lapsed into inactivity for several years after gaining nonprofit status in 1996. The city brought the group back in July 2012 with Dan Schack as president, leading a seven-member board.

Schack said the foundation’s mission is to support the preservation, maintenance and enhancement of parks, facilities and programs in Tracy.

With city funding stretched thin, the foundation’s efforts to secure funding, collaborate and build partnerships and serve as an advocate for Tracy parks may be the only way to address some of the quality-of-life issues in town, he said.

“To continue doing things for parks, pets, children and recreational programs and community needs — the idea was to get a community group together that could start raising funds, get endowments, get donations, get grants and do different things,” Schack said. “As an organization, we would come up with projects that would be beneficial to the community.”

Schack said the funds raised and the relationships developed since 2012 have made the dog park expansion possible.

“We had picked (it) as our initial project, because we had heard through the grapevine the existing dog park at El Pescadero Park had been considered, in 2006, even by the city, as needing improvements,” Schack said.

Dino Margaros, the foundation’s vice president, said the group was trying to supply a need the city could not afford to provide.

“It’s to provide the enhanced service the city can no longer do above and beyond the basic bare minimum the city can do,” Margaros said. “People are passionate about the dog parks. It’s a visible project but a passionate project for a lot of people.”

The expansion plan for the Cora K-9 Dog Park calls for three 48-inch-high fence sections creating a new quarter-acre run to give small dogs a place away from big dogs. The existing dog park occupies roughly an acre off Kavanagh Avenue at the northern edge of El Pescadero Park, 301 W. Grant Line Road.

Schack said the foundation solicited ideas from the community and put fliers out at the dog park asking for suggestions of what was needed.

“It became pretty evident and unanimous from almost all the comments that people really would like to have the separation between big dogs and the smaller dogs,’ Schack said.

The new small-dog area will have a bench, a trash bin, a waste station and drinking fountains for people and dogs.

Schack said donations would cover the cost of the materials and construction. The fencing for the project was contributed by Tracy Unified School District. Crews from Sunset Fencing began drilling holes for the fence posts Monday, and Schack expected the fences to be up by early next week. A bench and trash bin supplied by an anonymous donor will be installed next on concrete pads.

“We’re excited about being able to do this one little thing just to get the ball rolling,” Schack said.

He added that the foundation would work on projects as funds became available.

“We are the embryo starting up — we don’t have a lot of money,” Schack said. “We are looking for ideas from the community that fit our objectives and goals, and anyone who has any suggestions or comments, they’re welcome to get ahold of us.”

For more information about the Tracy Friends for Parks Recreation and Community Services Foundation, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.tracyfriendsfoundation.org or call Schack at 835-2178.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.
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