MARCO ISLAND — Friends of Canine Cove is over the top, but they’re cautious about saying so. The group has reached and surpassed their fundraising target for creation of the Canine Cove dog park within Mackle Park, but they point out that additional dollars will be required for enhancements and maintenance of the facility.
Friends of Canine Cove founder Deborah Chapman went before the City Council at their special budget meeting on Sept. 25 to announce that they had raised over $42,000 for Canine Cove. To applause from the council and audience, she announced the park was on-schedule to open on Dec. 5.
“This is not an end. This is just our initial goal to get open,” she cautioned, stating that some items for the park had cost much more than anticipated.
“I thank you for offering us the bridge loan of $25,000, but it will not be necessary,” added Chapman, referring to the city’s offer to put up money for the park temporarily until private funds could be raised. City Manager Steve Thompson pointed out that the $25,000 had actually been budgeted as a line item, and those dollars would therefore be available to help the city with its budget.
Nationally known comedian Bob Zany and his wife Erin, who live in Southern California, have taken a liking to Marco Island’s new dog park, Canine Cove.
“We read about the dog park project in the Marcophiles column of the Eagle,” says Erin Zany. And Bob, who is appearing nightly through Sunday at Capt. Brien’s Off the Hook Comedy Club in Marco Walk, decided to donate 10 percent of his after-show product sales to Canine Cove.
“We’re thrilled to be able to contribute to such a great cause,” Zany says. The Zanys are big-time dog lovers, especially their pair of pets, Henry and Frankie.
Zany’s gig at Off the Hook is his third visit to Marco. He also is in the cast of the recently released hit movie, “The Informants!”
The Zanys are among hundreds of people who have heard the call from the Friends of Canine Cove (FOCC) and helped make the off-leash dog runs for small and large dogs at Mackle Park a reality.
Chapman, referred to by other FOCC members as the “Alpha Dog,” read a roster of her organization into the record Friday, saying she wished to thank them publicly. She thanked Mike NcNaboe, Sue Hewson, Linda Goslee, Jon Busch, Lisa and Kevin Howard, Carole Roberts, Darcie Guerin, Jan Temkiewicz, and Kathy Keeling.
City Council Chairman Rob Popoff jokingly asked Chapman if she would make her group’s next project raising funds for the city’s budget.
“We raised the money in three short months, in the off-season when no one was here,” said Jan Temkiewicz, a board member of the Friends of Canine Cove. Final approval of the dog park came on June 15 this year, and the Friends group was formed two weeks later.
The group offered naming rights to benches, fountains, and picnic tables, which all sold out quickly. Opportunities still exist to be a part of Canine Cove, they stressed.
“There is still time to put your dog’s name (or your own) on the “Waggin’ Wall of Thanks” at Canine Cove. For a contribution of $100 or more, donors get to put a name on the Waggin’ Wall plaque which will be erected in Canine Cove,” said Chapman. “If you really want to show that you love your dog, you can put his name on a tree for $500.”
The FOCC also received in-kind contributions, including two 30-foot shade trees donated and installed by Busk and Associates landscaping.
“Canine Cove is not just a dog thing – it’s a people thing,” said Chapman. “We’ve needed this for a long time. Two years ago you couldn’t even walk your dog on a leash in any city park, and now we have this park, open to all – people and dogs. Your dog just needs to be licensed and up to date on all shots.”
Chapman’s own dog, Katie, is a cocker spaniel she rescued after the dog was found wandering and bedraggled after Hurricane Katrina.
The Friends of Canine Cove is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization. Those wishing to support the work of the group may send a tax-deductible contribution to made out to the “City of Marco Island – Canine Cove,” care of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Dept., 361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, FL 34145. Donors will be furnished with a receipt. To become involved with the Friends of Canine Cove, contact Jan Temkiewicz at 394-2243.