Berkus joins team for fantasy dog parks - WFLA News Channel 8

Berkus joins team for fantasy dog parks

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES, CA (WFLA) -

Interior designer Nate Berkus has been adding fantasy to homes for 16 years, inspiring people with just the right creative touch. But he's been a dog-lover even longer, and he's turning his design expertise to a half-million-dollar fantasy dog park.

Berkus, 41, has joined the creative team for the 2014 Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest. Contestants have to answer one question: "If you had $500,000 to create a Dream Dog Park where you and your best buddy can play together, what would you do?"

In Lancaster, Pa., the answer included a doggy amusement park with a tennis ball tree and a 40-foot roller coaster bridge. The park there — the third contest winner — opens Aug. 6.

The first park was built in Johns Creek, Ga., with a family destination theme and includes a bone-shaped bridge, two splash pads, tunnels, rubberized mulch paths and shade trees. The second park in Alabaster, Ala., has synthetic turf, agility rings, a walking trail, a fetch football field, fire hydrant goalposts and a mulch adventure path with tunnels, said Brent Gleckler, brand director for Beneful dog food.

"There is nothing I love more than being with my dog," Berkus said of sidekick Tucker, a black mutt. Together, they visit a dog park nearly every night.

The parks in Alabaster and Johns Creek have been tourist magnets. In Georgia, the city had to make 72 new parking spaces next to the park to accommodate visitors.

In Alabama, people take good care of the park, but the city does a walkthrough once a day, sprays it down twice a week and uses a biodegradable chemical once a month, city parks director Tim Hamm said.

The dog park is part the city's flagship Veteran's Park, with a ball field complex, 2.5-mile walking trail, eight pavilions with picnic tables, two playgrounds, a skateboard park and veteran's memorial, Hamm said.

Every day, they get calls from tourists asking about hours and directions.

"The more people that come to our city, the more people will stop, eat and buy gas. We are all for that. Out-of-town users are great," Hamm said. "Anybody who wants to come, we more than welcome them in town."

Beneful has some requirements — large dogs must be separated from small dogs; the park has to be fenced for off-leash play; and it has to be a public or nonprofit park, open to the public at no charge.

"A park is a place for a community to come together. These parks are specifically designed for pet owners and their dogs, but everyone is welcome," Berkus said. "We're really looking at it from the dog's perspective. We will use smart materials that will last a long time, and make sure we factor in pet behaviors and create not only beautiful fun places but intelligently laid out places as well."

At Alabaster, the dog rules are typical of most dog parks: The off-leash area is for dogs, their handlers and those accompanying them, dogs have to be vaccinated, puppies and adult females in heat are banned and everyone has to clean up after their own dog.

Hamm said except for a few minor fights, there has been no trouble at the park. If there is a fight on your watch, the park has that covered too: A sign tells visitors "How to Break Up a Dog Fight."

Berkus, who has an upcoming NBC show called "American Dream Builders," is teaming up with contractor Jason Cameron, host of the DIY Network's "Man Caves," and Arden Moore, founder of fourleggedlife.com, for the latest contest.

So if Berkus were asked to design a $500,000 park for Tucker, what would he do?

"I would probably spend $495,000 bringing in squirrels because that's what Tucker likes. He's pretty simple. The sky is really the limit. It's an enormous budget and an enormous contribution to the communities where these parks are built and it really is meant to be a fantasyland."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • 15 year old sexually molested in Highlands Regional Medical Center ICU

    15 year old sexually molested in Highlands Regional Medical Center ICU

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:19 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:19:41 GMT
    People go to hospitals to be healed, not sexually molested. But an 8 On Your Side investigation confirmed a 15 year old Highlands county girl, who was heavily medicated and sedated at Highlands Regional Medical Center, was sexually molested in her ICU bed.
    People go to hospitals to be healed, not sexually molested. But an 8 On Your Side investigation confirmed a 15 year old Highlands county girl, who was heavily medicated and sedated at Highlands Regional Medical Center, was sexually molested in her ICU bed.
  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Lakeland woman says cats missing, found cut in half

    Lakeland woman says cats missing, found cut in half

    Thursday, April 24 2014 8:00 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:00:17 GMT
    A Lakeland woman is trying to figure out what's happening to several cats that have gone missing in the neighborhood and two that have been discovered cut in half.
    A Lakeland woman is trying to figure out what's happening to several cats that have gone missing in the neighborhood and two that have been discovered cut in half.
  • Florida governor's race latest ad hurls campaign insults

    Florida governor's race latest ad hurls campaign insults

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:37:20 GMT
    The name-calling in the governor’s race is ratcheting up. Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign is out with a new ad that calls former Gov. Charlie Crist a “slick politician” and a “lousy governor.
    The name-calling in the governor’s race is ratcheting up. Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign is out with a new ad that calls former Gov. Charlie Crist a “slick politician” and a “lousy governor.
  • Ukraine moves against insurgents in the east

    Ukraine moves against insurgents in the east

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:35 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:35:12 GMT
    Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov says police have cleared the city hall in a southeastern city of pro-Russian protesters who had been occupying it for over a week.
    Russia announced new military exercises Thursday involving ground and air forces near its border with Ukraine, swiftly responding to a Ukrainian operation to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the...
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:50 AM EDT2014-04-24 10:50:51 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Squatters left dogs at soldier's house in New Port Richey

    Squatters left dogs at soldier's house in New Port Richey

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:04:53 GMT
    One of the dogs left at the soldier's houseOne of the dogs left at the soldier's house
    The house of Army Spc. Michael Sharkey sat almost empty early Thursday morning after two squatters said they moved out the day before.
    The house of Army Spc. Michael Sharkey sat almost empty early Thursday morning after two squatters said they moved out the day before.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.