Buffalo turns to GoFundMe to fundraise for city dog park

The City of Buffalo is taking a different route to raise money for a proposed dog park.

Wright County resident Marilyn Blake takes her dog, Rookie, out on long walks to get some exercise in. Currently, there are no dog parks in Buffalo.

“There’s one in Fish Lake and Maple Grove and I’ve utilized that one,” said Marilyn Blake, a dog owner. 

Soon there will be a dog park in Buffalo with the city eyeing prime lakeshore property.

“It’s already a park,” said Buffalo Mayor Teri Lachermeier. “It’s a park, but it’s under-utilized right now, so why not use it for something bigger and better?”

Funding for the dog park, however, won't come from taxes or the usual municipal liquor sales, but a much more unconventional route.

“Why take taxpayer dollars when you can feel the pulse of a community through a GoFundMe page,” said Lachermeier.

The city parks department started the GoFundMe page a week ago, sparking some surprise among residents.

“The GoFundMe is unique,” said Lachermeier. “It’s offered to a greater population. Maybe even people who don’t live in the city limits, but want to have a dog park close to our community.”

Some residents say they should have stuck to protocol.

“Public input should have been had long before it went out on a GoFundMe page that says, ‘Look at what we’re doing,’” said Sue Mattson.

The park is named after Mattson’s late husband, Gary Mattson. She said while the city came to her in April with a proposal, she didn’t know plans were finalized.

“It was a total surprise,” she said. “There are already talking it’s going to be there in the fall.”

So while some are feeling blind-sided, the mayor says they should consider this the public comment. 

“Really we’re giving them that voice and in an unconventional way,” said Lachermeier.