Riverhead woman now raising funds for town’s first dog park

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Denise Lucas received a $2,225 donation from her boss Tom Otis for the Move the Animal Shelter fund in November. Now she's raising funds for a town dog park, too.

For Denise Lucas, raising donations for a new animal shelter is just the beginning. Now Ms. Lucas, founder of Move the Animal Shelter, is opening a second donation fund to raise money and donations of equipment for Riverhead’s first town dog park planned for the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

“I just want to start off with the bare minimum, get it fenced in, get it secure,” she said. “I say [building it] little by little makes the most sense.”

The dog park would be a proposed 1-acre fenced in area near the EPCAL baseball fields that would include obstacles and water for dogs, said Councilman Jim Wooten.

The park would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 in recreation funds without donations, Mr. Wooten said. Recreation funds are used for town parks and other recreation facilities, and are paid for through a fund developers contribute to when they build within the town.

Ms. Lucas is seeking to raise donations and money to partially or completely build the park, so recreation funds wouldn’t have to be used.

She has set up a second collection for the dog park, since money already donated through MTAS can only be used to build the town a new shelter. In an interview last week, she said seven companies had already pledged to purchase tables, rings, and other objects for the park.

The largest purchase would likely be a water supply for dogs to drink at the park, Mr. Wooten said. If enough money could be raised to offset the cost of the park, the recreation funds could go toward other projects.

Mr. Wooten said he would eventually like to install small dog areas at other town parks and hopes to have the park ready to open by mid-April.

“I want to marry this into smaller parks,” Mr. Wooten said. “Every place you take your kid you should be able to take your dog.”

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