The winners of the 2018 Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant program were announced last week by the Boyd foundation. Part of a multi-year commitment toward making Tennessee the most pet friendly state, 37 communities will receive funds to build or enhance off-leash dog parks.
In its first year, the program saw an outpouring of support from Tennessee residents, city officials, and 501c3 organizations in the form of local news stories, charitable fundraisers, pet friendly events and social media campaigns. The program received 50 applications, from Tennessee towns with a few thousand residents to urban hubs with populations of more than 100,000.
Grants totaling $1 million will be distributed to 36 communities across Tennessee’s three grand divisions. Each winning community will be awarded $25,000 for a new or improved dog park. One additional community will be awarded the grand prize of $100,000 by best setting an example for how to be pet friendly.
The winning communities for the 2018 Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant are:
•West Tennessee: Bolivar, Brownsville, Camden, Decatur County, Dyersburg, Henderson, Humboldt, Lakeland, McKenzie, Memphis, Milan and Pickwick, Tennessee.
•Middle Tennessee: Gallatin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg, Manchester, McMinnville, Mount Pleasant, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill and White House, Tennessee.
•East Tennessee: Athens, Bristol, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Crossville, Erwin, Greeneville, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Kingston, Morristown, Rogersville, Spring City, Union County, and Jefferson County, Tennessee.
Grand Prize winner: Jackson, Tennessee.
Jackson, Tenn. was selected as the grand prize winner because of the overall vision for and potential impact of its proposed dog park. The community also organized a number of pet fundraisers and local events, while encouraging its citizens, businesses and leaders to showcase pet pride on social media in a consistent and unique manner.
To be considered for a Tennessee Dog Park Dash grant, applicants were asked to verify land availability for the proposed park and provide a comprehensive narrative of the community, along with letters of support from civic leaders. Each submission was thoroughly reviewed and scored by a committee on the community’s need for a dog park, the impact a new or improved dog park would have on a community and each community’s overall support of the project.