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3/23/2009
Talley Day Bark Park seeks volunteers for cleanup - News Journal

Wednesday schedule makes it difficult for some members to participate
By ROBIN BROWN • The News Journal • March 23, 2009


Hard economic times are making Brandywine Hundred dog lovers scramble to dig up more help.


New Castle County Councilman Robert S. Weiner and the friends of the Talley Day Bark Park, found plans for a spring cleanup affected by the budget squeeze.

"Due to budgetary constraints, we can no longer schedule the mulching on a Saturday," said Weiner, who said park staff got paid overtime for their work at past events.

Instead, this spring's cleanup at the fenced dog areas in the county park next to the Brandywine Hundred Library at 1300 Foulk Road, is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The midweek timing, however, means fewer group members will be able to pitch in, so Weiner sent an e-mail appeal urging them to help "spread the word ... and the mulch."

All volunteers are welcome, whether or not they use the bark park, live in Brandywine Hundred or even have a dog, Weiner said, adding that many group members are dogless.

Some have parents who live in nearby Foulk Manor North and -- since Weiner got a ramp installed between the assisted living center and the park -- they enjoy taking them to watch the children and dogs play in the bark park, he said.

There is no minimum time commitment. Volunteers need only wear grubby clothes and bring their own gloves.

The county will supply mulch, wheelbarrows, shovels and pitchforks.

Josh Borin, 36, of Wilmington, said he plans to help with the cleanup to keep the bark park in as good condition as possible. Borin and his cockapoo Bently have enjoyed its use for nearly two years, he said.

Borin, who became a member of the group, said, "I think the bark park is the best idea ever," and he especially likes its separate fenced areas for large and small dogs. Borin also praised Weiner for being the bark park's champion.

The councilman has organized and joined twice-a-year cleanups at the bark park since it opened in 2002. The friends group and the cleanups, like the Citizens Anti-Graffiti Brigade and Brandywine Hundred Community Block Watch he initiated, "help lessen the burden on our county work force," while promoting "a sense of ownership and pride in the community," Weiner said.

New Castle County Executive Chris Coons authorized another new program that Weiner proposed -- to install safety boxes to accept donations from park visitors.

One of the first donation stations could be installed soon at the Talley Day Bark Park, where Wednesday's spruce-up is expected to take about half a day. "We're hoping that box will be up by the day of this event," the councilman said.

The donation-box program, called New Castle County Pride -- created by former Special Services General Manager Rich Przywara -- also accepts tax-deductible contributions by mail. Checks payable to the county, designating "Talley Day Bark Park" or other facilities in their memo lines, may be sent to NCCo Pride, in care of Norman Spector, New Castle County Government Center, 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE 19720.

"It's another way to help ... and it saves taxpayers money," Weiner said. Funds earmarked for the bark park would go into a special account for its improvement and maintenance, he said.

Talley Day Bark Park is one of Delaware's busiest designated areas where owners legally may have dogs off-leash.

Depending on weather and time of day, Weiner said, visitors range "from a handful to hundreds" of owners and dogs.

He said helping at the spring cleaning is a great way to have fun, meet people, give back to the community and help stretch tax dollars.

"Government can't afford to do all the tasks that need to be performed," he said, adding that friends' groups and volunteers help control costs of county programs from parks to police.

New Castle County Executive Chris Coons authorized another new program that Weiner proposed -- to install safety boxes to accept donations from park visitors.

One of the first donation stations could be installed soon at the Talley Day Bark Park, where Wednesday's spruce-up is expected to take about half a day. "We're hoping that box will be up by the day of this event," the councilman said.

The donation-box program, called New Castle County Pride -- created by former Special Services General Manager Rich Przywara -- also accepts tax-deductible contributions by mail. Checks payable to the county, designating "Talley Day Bark Park" or other facilities in their memo lines, may be sent to NCCo Pride, in care of Norman Spector, New Castle County Government Center, 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE 19720.

"It's another way to help ... and it saves taxpayers money," Weiner said. Funds earmarked for the bark park would go into a special account for its improvement and maintenance, he said.

Talley Day Bark Park is one of Delaware's busiest designated areas where owners legally may have dogs off-leash.

Depending on weather and time of day, Weiner said, visitors range "from a handful to hundreds" of owners and dogs.

He said helping at the spring cleaning is a great way to have fun, meet people, give back to the community and help stretch tax dollars.

"Government can't afford to do all the tasks that need to be performed," he said, adding that friends' groups and volunteers help control costs of county programs from parks to police.

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