For the last two years, the Juniper Dog Lovers have organized meet-ups every day from 6 to 9 a.m. - before city leash requirements go into effect – and have since organized a Facebook page, solidified a friends group, and recently began a fundraiser to seed the trampled grass and give back to the park.
“A lot of us have been coming here since the 70’s and 80’s,” said Dorothy Guagler, a founding member of the friends group. “We had a Facebook group and we just started talking and decided that the park needs help.”
Together with numerous private donors like Harry’s Paint and Hardware on Eliot Ave., the group has raised $900 to repair the 1,000-square-foot space through seeding and planting with the Parks Department.
“We’re very grateful of the time that we have here and we just want to make sure that we maintain and update and incorporate some improvements to the park,” Guagler said.
Bart Olszewski was one of nearly 20 Juniper Dog Lovers members to pitch in last weekend at the park cleanup and seeding project.
“Right now, we are just hoping the grass comes in nicely and that it will survive,” Olszewski said. “And then in the fall we’re going to move on to a different area.”
Lisa Sanford, also a volunteer in the park cleanup effort, has brought her two-year-old puppy, Chelsea, to the park since she was just six weeks old and said she has watched her grow up together with the other dogs in the neighborhood.
“The dogs have friendships and the people here have friendships,” Sanford said. “We can come out here and reach out to one another for support and it’s a nice place to socialize. We bring our families up here and it’s a great environment.”
To join the group and help out with the park cleanup initiative, you can contact Bart Olszewski and the Juniper Dog Lovers at (917) 449-4101.