Pancake breakfast to help fund dog park

Pancake breakfast to help fund dog park

The Tuscora Park Foundation’s goal with Southside Community Park is to preserve open space and utilize it in ways everyone in the community can enjoy.


The Tuscora Park Foundation will hold a pancake breakfast to raise funds for its projects, which include a new dog park at the Southside Community Park, on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 7-11 a.m. at the Tuscora Park Pavilion. The new dog park is part of the $6.3 million master plan to develop the park off South Broadway in New Philadelphia.

Assistant county prosecutor and president of the Tuscora Park Foundation Michael Ernest has been a member of the New Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department for around 10 years and has been heavily involved in the development of Southside Community Park since its inception.

“Southside Community Park has been an item on our agenda since I started here,” Ernest said. “When I first began working on it, one thing became clear to me: taking even the smallest of steps requires funding that the City of New Philadelphia simply doesn’t have.”

This realization spurred Ernest to form the Tuscora Park Foundation approximately three years ago. “We’re here to help fund projects such as the Southside Community Park when the city can’t,” he said.

The foundation’s goal with Southside Community Park is to preserve open space and utilize it in ways everyone in the community can enjoy, according to Ernest.

"A dog park is part of the overall vision for the park that will eventually include a butterfly pollinator garden, a pedestrian bridge, a trailhead and trail, an amphitheater for concerts, a concession stand, and other amenities. The park currently has soccer and football fields. Everything from this point on is about preserving green space," Ernest said.

According to Ernest, the foundation sought funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission to help with this phase of the park. As of Feb. 7 the request for $1,447,500 was granted by the local Natural Resources Assistance Council, which then sends the proposal off to the OPWS in Columbus for review.

“While it looks very promising, we do still have a final hurdle to cross,” said Ernest, who also said he should know more soon.

This first phase of the Southside Community Park project will involve a little over 23 acres of the more than 54 acres set aside on Oldtown Valley Road Southeast. Ernest said one of the first things they will do is create a new entrance to the park on South Broadway to simplify access.

Plans for the dog park, which will take up about 1 acre of the land, include agility equipment, water fountains and benches. “It will be a lot like a playground, but for dogs,” Ernest said.

The park also will get a new entrance directly off South Broadway. “We want to try to alleviate the traffic weaving through neighborhoods to get to the current entrance off York Drive,” Ernest said. “A new entrance will also allow folks to easily access the trails, dog park and pollinator garden.”

More help needed

Even with funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission, more help is needed. “We requested $1,447,500 from the grant, which still leaves a substantial gap,” Ernest said.

Attending the pancake breakfast is one way members of the public can help bridge that gap. Tickets for the breakfast are $5 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the New Philadelphia mayor’s office and online at

Those who can’t attend the breakfast can still donate to the cause by mail to the Tuscora Park Foundation at 161 Tuscora Ave. NW, New Philadelphia, OH 44663, or donate online at

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