SANDWICH – The inaugural Sandwich Park Foundation Benefit Gala will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Country Girl of Edgebrook, 2100 B Suydam Road in Sandwich.
This year’s gala theme is the “Fur Ball,” with money being raised for a new dog park in Sandwich.
The gala will feature a tapas bar, a silent auction and live entertainment. The attire for the gala is “business cool.”
Tickets can be purchased by calling the park district at 815-786-8044, stopping by the office at 1001 N. Latham St. in Sandwich or online at www.sandwichparkdistrict.org. Tickets cost $30 each, $50 for a couple and $200 for a table of eight.
Tickets will be mailed. Tickets bought after March 22 will be available for pickup at the event.
There also are different sponsorship levels for the event: Chihuahua, $20 and below; Husky, $21 to $99; Retriever, $100 to $249; and Great Dane, $250 and up.
Sandwich Park District Executive Director Michael McCann said the event will be the start of the dog park’s capital campaign.
“About three or four years ago, when the park district did a needs assessment, having a dog park was at the top of the list,” McCann said.
“However, the tax dollars we receive barely keep the lights on. We’re struggling for revenue. We do not receive tax on areas of Sandwich, including subdivisions and unincorporated areas. That hobbles what we can do for the community.”
The future dog park will be built at Milestone Park, the same location as the skate park, splash pad and softball fields.
The park district is partnering with students in the Indian Valley Vocational Center’s engineering class to develop the dog park’s layout. The students’ design will be submitted to a professional park planner.
The dog park will be completed in two phases: first adding fencing, shading and a parking lot, then adding additional features such as dog training equipment and water fountains for the dogs. McCann said that $20,000 is needed to start the first phase, which will take one to two years to complete.
“The dog park is not just for dogs, it will be a great way for people to get out of the house and socialize,” McCann said. “Once the dog park is built, it will be something that will last and be around for many generations to enjoy.”