HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Keg and Barrel donated $25,000 to The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation Wednesday to help complete Hattiesburg's See Spot Run dog park.
"Considering we're in the neighborhood and most of our customer base is from the neighborhood, I felt like it was something we could give back because Hattiesburg has been very good to us," John Neal, owner of The Keg and Barrel, said.
Rep. Toby Barker is the interim president of the See Spot Run dog park board and said Neal's donation is crucial for the park's completion.
"This project's been underway for about two years and having John Neal and The Keg and Barrel step up with a $25,000 contribution puts us one step, a huge step, closer to getting to our goal and getting this park built, so we can start enhancing neighborhoods and the city at large," he said.
Barker said this kind of development will benefit current Hattiesburg residents, but will hopefully entice potential new residents to stay.
"Hattiesburg has always been a forward thinking city in terms of quality of life and what we have to offer residents," he said. "So having this park downtown is going to, one, serve as an anchor to both downtown and the avenues. It's also going to be a quality of life factor that young and other residents of any age will want to come here and stay here."
He said this kind of project will particularly benefit dog owners who don't currently have a greenspace for their pets and help build a community atmosphere.
"When you look at neighborhoods around Hattiesburg, they may have a lawn, they may not," Barker said. "They may not have a fenced in yard, so when you have young professionals and college students who maybe have pets, they may live downtown and don't have space. This is a good place for folks to bring their dog and not only give the dog some exercise, but also interact with other people. This has been a huge community building type facility in other cities, so we're looking to having that same affect here in Hattiesburg."
Barker said he thinks the project will be well on the way to completion by late summer or early fall, but said the board is still looking for donations to be able to buy the land and start construction.
"The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation is the fiscal agent for this, and they handle all donations," he said. "So they (people wanting to donate) can go to The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation website. They can go to the See Spot Run Dog Park Facebook page, and find out how to donate there. All gifts are tax deductible and go directly to the construction of the dog park."
Barker said he wants to raise between $10,000 and $20,000 dollars.
"We set a goal of $150,000, and we're right under $125,000," he said. "So we're well on our way to having this thing done."