KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— The Knox County Parks and Recreation Department plans to build five new dog parks within the next couple of years thanks to a contest and grant program initiated and funded by the Boyd Family Foundation.
Earlier this year, the non-profit organization, which supports animal welfare and youth education in Tennessee, gave residents the opportunity to submit nominations for 10 new dog parks – five under the county’s parks and recreation system and five under the city’s system.
The proposal – dubbed the Knox Neighborhood Dog Parks Plan – was designed to make Knox County No. 1 in dog parks per capita in the nation. The county is ranked No. 29 currently.
The winning Knox County communities are:
- New Harvest
For the Knox County Parks and Recreation Department, that means more than likely means building new dog parks at Beverly Park, New Harvest Park, the SportsPark, Powell Station Park and Clayton Park, though specific park locations may be updated if the need arises.
The foundation plans to set aside $50,000 for each park and the county will cover the rest.
“Most of Knox County’s state-of-the-art dog parks exist because of the generosity of Randy Boyd has shown this community for more than a decade,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said. “It has long been a priority to ensure Knox County is a pet-friendly community. As a pet owner myself, I know these new park additions will move us even further down the path to becoming one of the most pet-friendly places in America.”
The contest initially kicked off in early June and residents suggested nominations through the knoxdogparks.com website. The nomination period was then followed on social media for much of July as neighborhoods were encouraged to publicly share on social media why their community met the needs of a dog park. They used the hashtag #KNDP.
“We opened it for 3 weeks of social media and written support, shoutouts etc. and those were tallied and scored to select the winners,” said Harrison Forbes, who is the grant organizer and advising the county’s parks and recreation department about the new dog parks.
The foundation received more than 1,000 requests and votes from every zip code in the county. Under the terms of the grant, the parks must be complete within two years, although officials expect to open a number of those parks within a year, Forbes said.
The effort is part of Randy and Jenny Boyd’s commitment to enhancing Knoxville, their hometown. The couple established the Boyd Foundation in 2018. Randy Boyd, who is the president of the University of Tennessee, founded PetSafe and has helped the city and county building a number of dog parks over the years. His wife, Jenny Boyd, is a local business owner and philanthropist who is passionate about animal welfare.