City of Copperas Cove, Raising Cane’s celebrate groundbreaking for dog park
By PAMELA GRANT
After years of asking for it, ground has finally been broken for Copperas Cove’s dog park.
Dozens of those who made the dog park possible—in addition to excited citizens—attended the groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning at 9 a.m. in Copperas Cove City Park. The dog park is projected to be completed by the end of the year if everything goes well. The park will be separated into areas for bigger dogs and smaller dogs.
This dog park will be Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers’ first dog park in the state of Texas.
For five years, members of the Five Hills Scholarship Program worked hard to make the dog park a reality, raising funds, raising awareness, and looking for a sponsor—ultimately finding Raising Cane’s.
Wendy Sledd and Five Hills Scholarship Program representatives Emily Kimball and Allyssa Kimball began working on making the dog park a reality starting in 2018. Sledd helped the two young ladies with researching and creating a budget for the park, presented to Joe Brown who was Parks and Recreation director at the time. He suggested changes to the plan which the girls made before their plan was ultimately approved.
“We visited the surrounding towns dog parks to get ideas and plan what we wanted to do and what we should include to make it the best dog park,” said Emily Kimball, who along with her sister and Sledd, were present on Monday.
After approval for the park, they began working on fundraising to turn their goal into a reality. In 2018, Young Miss Five Hills Allyssa Kimball hosted the 2018 Krist Kindl Pageant and raised $2,501.09 which was donated to KCCB who will purchase waste receptacles for the park. In 2018, Five Hills Ambassador Emily Kimball supported the project through the animal control facility with the annual dog walk. In 2019, Preteen Miss Five Hills Kaydence Roberts hosted the 2019 Sweetheart Tea event and raised $2,336.15 towards building the park.
“I didn’t even think it was going to happen just because it’s been so long since we started trying,” said Allyssa Kimball. “But it feels good [seeing it finally happen].”
Kimball said that they look forward to bringing their dogs to the park once it’s completed.
The Youth Advisory Council and Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful also worked towards raising money to make the dog park a reality, collectively raising more than $15,000.
The outbreak of COVID-19 put a stop to progress until late 2021 when Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers stepped in, donating a whopping $50,000 to make the project happen.
“The community has been asking for it for a long time,” said Mark Strouse, Area Leader for Raising Cane’s. “It’s Raising Cane’s 25th anniversary…We were just looking to get involved at a bigger level.”
Strouse said that Raising Cane’s bases the work they do in the community on five main pillars. Two of which are pet welfare and having an active lifestyle.
“We want people outside, active, and at parks,” said Strouse. Strouse said he looks forward to bringing his own basset hound, Buddy, down to the park once it’s complete.
“Everyone’s been cooped up for the last two years,” said Strouse. “I think it’s an opportunity for people to get out of their houses and be active with their dogs. We will have different obstacles and things for them to climb through and run around. It’ll be fun.”
Nancy Sweet attended the event with her grandson, Hunter Vorderbrugge, and her dog, Punkin. She said that she is very excited about the dog park. Sweet said that in the past she’s gone to the dog park in Harker Heights, but having one here will be so much more convenient. She is also excited about the fact that it will be split into an area for the bigger dogs and the smaller dogs.
“She is the most loving dog, and she is so social,” said Sweet about Punkin. “She loves going to the dog park…A dog park is so much better than taking a walk.”