By Billy Liggett

There’s still a full three weeks left of voting, but as it stands now, Sanford, North Carolina, has a pretty damned good chance of landing at least $25,000 from PetSafe to go toward a new dog park to be built at O.T. Sloan Park.

Vote tally in the "medium cities" category as of July 8. Voting ends July 31.
Vote tally in the “medium cities” category as of July 8. Voting ends July 31.

As of July 8, Sanford trailed Port Chester, NY, and Sulphur Springs, Texas (coincidentally, my hometown), in the “medium cities” category in online votes. The top city in large, medium and small cities will each earn $25,000; and the city with the most overall votes will win $100,000. Sanford trails Port Chester by nearly 4,000 votes, but because Port Chester is in the running (and currently in the lead) for the most overall votes, the next city in the category would win $25,000. Sanford only trails Sulphur Springs by fewer than 80 votes and has been closing in fast on the East Texas town in the past few weeks.

There’s still a long way to go between now and the end of the month, but the Facebook page for Sanford’s bid has been hard at work offering prizes such as Android tablets, gas cards, picnics and movie tickets over the past few weeks to encourage people to vote.


Regardless of how Sanford finishes in this contest, one thing is clear — there’s a lot of people in this town who want a dog park.

Dog parks have been popping up all over the Triangle over the past five to 10 years. Many of those parks are small parts of much bigger projects designed to improve the quality of life in the suburbs of Raleigh and Durham. The newest such project is the recently built Apex Nature Park between Apex and New Hill off Evans Road.

1902242_24The main park is made up of beautifully manicured soccer fields and brand new tennis courts, as well as a nature trail, disc golf course and children’s playground area. Along the nature and bike trails can be found the new dog park (pictured), one of the nicer dog parks to be found in this area. The drawback of the park, however, is that it’s for registered dogs only, and registration comes at a price of about $60-$100 a year for non-Apex residents.

With more than 13,000 votes and counting, Sanford’s showing it wants a dog park. If it falls short of the $25,000 prize, it’s hopeful this effort will open the eyes of city and county officials, or at least the ones who have an interest in attracting new families and keeping the ones who are already here.