Following months of howling at the moon for a shot at $100,000, Tehachapi came away with a courtesy prize of $25,000 in the PetSafe "Bark For Your Park" contest.
Tehachapi was named a runner-up in PetSafe’s Bark for Your Park nationwide contest and was awarded funding to build an off-leash dog park. Tehachapi, with a population of about 14,414, was the runner-up in the small city category with a total of 64,449 votes, and won $25,000.
The money will go toward a new dog park at Meadowbrook Park in Golden Hills. The current dog park, located at the same facility, has had complaints of being too far from the parking lot.
Tehachapi won the $25,000 when it came in first in its category for small cities. Waverly, Iowa, another small city the size of Tehachapi, took the grand prize, making Tehachapi eligible for the $25,000.
"It is creative and 'out of the box' efforts like this that we truly maximize government's ability to provide excellent public service," said Matt Young, district manager for the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District, in a statement on Thursday night. "Together we have financially realized yet another valuable public resource for Tehachapi!"
Young thanked the various organizations that helped campaign for votes during the contest, which required users to vote on both PetSafe's website and on the Facebook contest page.
"A very special shout out to Zach and Liz at Marley’s Mutts for bringing the creative and all powerful Mutts Militia, Sparks Arts for maximizing our digital campaign, local media Tehachapi News, the Tehachapi Loop Newspaper and Tehachapi Lifestyle Magazine for really getting the local word out, and all those who voted," Young said.
Young added that while the award is not a true grant, its criteria matches requirements for government grants. As such, the amount can only be used for dog park specific development; design, construction, and related amenities.
An added bonus is Tehachapi is still eligible to compete for the $100,000 prize when the next contest comes around.
"TVRPD has already began preliminary dialog on how to orchestrate a successful campaign for next year, which we see the formation of a Bark for your Park committee made of local/regional pet lovers, public agency liaisons, community and political leaders, the Tehachapi Parks Foundation and other non-profits, media and of course all local/regional pet service providers," Young said.
Robin Rhea, senior brand manager for PetSafe, said all of this year’s contest winners were very creative and determined in their efforts.
“Hattiesburg recruited Brett Favre for their public service announcement, Port Chester raffled off a chance to win $10,000, Tehachapi used incredible visuals, Enfield organized numerous fundraising events and activities, and Waverly launched their ‘Who’s Voting Today’ campaign, all of which involved a diverse group of dog park supporters in a fun, dynamic way,” Rhea said. “We’ve been watching and listening since May and can’t believe the incredible efforts that have been shown by each of the winning communities.”
"It is creative and “out of the box” efforts like this that we truly maximize government's ability to provide excellent public service," said Matt Young, district manager of Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District. "Together we have financially realized yet another valuable public resource for Tehachapi!"