Dog owners in Oak Forest have a reason to celebrate.
The totals are in and the won 2nd place—and a $25,000 prize—in the PetSafe Bark for your Park contest.
"We as a city and a dedicated volunteer group are thrilled to have won $25,000 in this contest,” said Laura Clemons, an Oak Forest alderwoman and head of the city’s dog park committee. “We’ve worked very, very hard and have had a lot of fun.
The contest results were posted to PetSafe's website Friday night. For three months, communities across the country battled for the grand prize of $100,000.
Texarkana, AR, won the grand prize. A second runners-up prize of $25,000 went to Derby, VT.
Contestants were whittled down from hundreds nationwide to 15 finalists, which include Oak Forest and Orland Park. Going into the last week of voting, which was hidden, Oak Forest held a strong 2nd-place position.
“I am thrilled to accept this prize from PetSafe, a fine company dedicated to improving the health, safety and welfare of domestic animals throughout the world,” said Mayor Hank Kuspa, in a prepared statement. “These funds will be used to develop and operate a dog park to be enjoyed by Oak Forest and neighboring communities.”
Oak Forest secured about 7 acres of Forest Preserve District of Cook County land for use as a dog park. The City will act as stewards of the dog park while the county will still maintain the land.
The PetSafe contest money will pay for amenities, such as benches and “poop stations,” Clemons said.
Oak Forest’s Bark for a Park committee already has raised about $11,000 through various fundraisers and events.
“This contest has brought the community together,” Clemons said.