$500,000 Dog Park Debuts in Prescott, Ariz.

The Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest brings a host of welcome changes to a formerly run-down canine play area.

Contest winner and Prescott, Ariz., resident Linda Nichols with her dog, Callie, at the new Willow Creek Dog Park.

Josh Biggs

What does $500,000 buy? In Prescott, Ariz., that amount of cash has given the community a renovated dog park done up in a firefighter theme.

Prescott’s Willow Creek Dog Park was chosen for a half-million-dollar makeover a year ago when resident Linda Nichols won the annual Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest, a competition sponsored by pet food maker Nestlé Purina PetCare Co.

Months of work were unveiled Wednesday as Nichols was joined by project managers Jason Cameron, host of the TV shows “Desperate Landscapes,” “Man Caves” and “Sledgehammer,” and pet expert Arden Moore.

Nichols and more than 1,000 other dog owners nationwide entered the contest. Nichols’ winning entry was selected from among 14 finalists after a round of judging and public voting.

Moore, whose task was to oversee the project from a dog’s point of view, helped bring to life Nichols’ wish for a firefighter theme. Today dogs can race around a miniature red fire truck, run though giant fire truck tires, rest in a covered firehouse lounge and cool off next to fire hydrant misters.

The makeover fixed what Nichols described in her contest video as a “large, fenced dirt field with lots of weeds.”

Prescott is a dog-loving town, Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said.

“The transformation of Willow Creek Dog Park is a dream come true,” Kuykendall said. “We are so grateful to Beneful … and to Linda Nichols for sharing her passion for her best buddy and our city.”

Prescott is the fourth grand-prize winner. Previous renovations were completed in Johns Creek, Ga.; Alabaster, Ala.; and Lancaster, Pa.

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