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4/8/2010
Councilman Weiner organizes dog-lovers to clean up Talley Day County Bark Park - Community News


By Jesse Chadderdon
Community News
www.communitypub.com
Posted Apr 08, 2010 @ 10:06 AM Brandywine Hundred, Del. —

The term Bark Park took on new meaning on Good Friday, as volunteers and dog owners spread mulch - and some love for their four-legged friends - at Talley Day Park.

Nearly 50 volunteers showed up, rakes in hand, to help spread new mulch in both the large and small dog areas of the wildly popular dog park.

In one corner, members of Girl Scout Troop 783 - most of which attend Lombardy and Brandywood elementary schools - worked diligently in the unseasonable heat. It's one of several service projects the girls are doing throughout the community as they work toward earning their Bronze Award for Service, said Troop Leader Darlene Bailey.

And some, like 11-year-old Alexa Bowman, even brought their parents for some extra help.

"We don't use the park, but we enjoy seeing other people's dogs there whenever we run past it," said her mother, Vickie. "It was a gorgeous day and it just seemed like a good thing to come out and do."

Across the park, members of Brandywine High School's National Honor Society chapter were hard at work on their first full day of spring break.

"It was a chance to be outside, get some exercise, meet some new people and help out the dogs," said 17-year-old senior Eliza Goldman.

The bi-annual volunteer-led cleanups have become a rite of spring - and fall - since the park opened four years ago. Coordinated by Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham), New Castle County provides the mulch and residents provide the muscle.

"With our budgetary restraints, the active involvement of our citizens is not only important, but critically needed," he said. "Without volunteers, we couldn't offer services like the Bark Park."

And that's why people like Suzanne Mannes, of Graylyn Crest, have made the cleanups part of their routine.

In fact, Mannes organized last fall's event, which Weiner did not attend because it fell on a Jewish holiday. This year, she even convinced Bran Mawr Plaza's Action Hardware to donate rakes and shovels.

"I became involved because I saw it as a good opportunity for my kids and their friends to get community service hours," she said. "And of course we have a dog (a Welsh Corgy named Rosa) that uses the small dog park."

Weiner said this cleanup was the most well-attended of any, and said the event has grown far beyond anything he ever imagined.

"For a lot of these people, the Bark Park is among the most important things we as a county provide," he said. "And it not only helps dogs develop good social skills, but it helps people do the same."

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