When the Egg Harbor Township Committee last year approved a plan to lease a small tract of township-owned land off Leap Street for use as a public dog park, it wasn't the end of park proponent Donna Burns' years-long struggle to make the canine recreation facility a reality, but a new beginning.
Since the approval, Burns has been busily raising funds to pay for the re-purposing of the land, and on May 5, her group will hold its Putting Fore Paws golf fundraiser at McCullough's Emerald Golf Links in Egg Harbor Township to benefit the Egg Harbor Township Dog Park.
"We're looking to raise funds so it's at no cost to the taxpayers," said Burns, who lives in the Bargaintown section of the township. "That's our goal. That's always been our goal."
The group has so far raised about $5,000 of the estimated $50,000 it will take to pay for the park's construction. The project will break ground as soon as it's financed, Burns said, but the specific date is currently up in the air.
Entry into the tournament is $100 per golfer, which includes lunch, dinner and cart rental. Supporters also can just attend the dinner at $25 per plate. There will be prizes for tournament winners as well as door prizes for attendees.
The tournament will be a four-person scramble format. In a four-person scramble, all four members of a team shoot from the teebox, taking the best of the four as the position of their second shot. The four members again play the same shot from this location, and proceed through the course in this manner until it's completed.
Burns has held a few fundraisers for the project so far, including a dog walk last summer and a pasta dinner last fall, but this is the first time she has organized a golf tournament. She said she decided to hold such a fundraiser in recognition of the popularity of the sport in the area.
"People love to golf, and there's so many tournaments that we just thought we would try to use that venue to help us," Burns said.
Burns, who by her own admission knows little about golf, has worked closely with McCullough's in making the event happen.
Terry Prendergast, director of marketing and outings at McCullough's, has been integral in putting the event together. As a resident of the Bargaintown section of the township, she said she believes strongly in the idea of a dog park.
"I think it's a wonderful idea," Prendergast said. "I realize living here in Egg Harbor Township there's a real need for the dog park, and I think it will promote a lot of nice friendships for people who use the park."
Burns began her quest to build a public dog park in Egg Harbor Township about five years ago. A member of the Ocean City Dog Park, Burns said she knows well the benefits of such a facility.
Dog parks not only benefit dogs, which need socialization, but their owners as well, she said. And when the dog park does finally open, this benefit will be open to all.
"I would just really like to invite everyone to come out and support us," Burns said. "This is not only going to be a dog park for Egg Harbor Township. This is going to be a dog park for everyone in Atlantic County."
Contact Braden Campbell:
If you go
What: EHT Dog Park's Putting Fore Paws Golf Outing
When: 2 p.m., May 5
Where: McCullough's Emerald Golf Links, 3016 Ocean Heights Ave., Egg Harbor Township
How much: $100 per golfer, $25 dinner-only
More info: Call Terry at 609-926-3900, ext. 2