BRADENTON – People and pups are invited to the Happy Tails Dog Park at G.T. Bray Park on Friday, April 26 at 2 p.m. for a dedication ceremony renaming the park in honor of Laurie Crawford, who was instrumental in establishing it.
The Anna Maria Island hairdresser passed away at age 64 on Nov. 8, 2018 after a brief illness. Her friends asked Manatee County commissioners to rename the park for her, and they readily agreed. The resolution states, in part, “Laurie substantially and significantly changed the way the county and our community views animals and their treatment.”
In addition to her work on establishing the county’s first dog park at G.T. Bray Park, she founded the Animal Network in 1999, a volunteer organization with a mission to keep pets out of local animal shelters.
She also founded Canine Christmas in 1999, introduced the No-Kill Manatee movement in 2011 and served on the Manatee County Animal Advisory Board for 15 years, chairing the board from 2001 to 2015.
The 4-acre park at 2811 51st St. W. reopened last fall after a renovation and expansion and features three pavilions, two water fountains, eight benches, 15 picnic tables, eight waste-bag dispensers and 12 trash cans.
Sidewalks have been added from the parking lot to all pavilions for ADA access, and separate entrances to the large and small dog parks have been added for increased safety.
Laurie Crawford Dog Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset, except Monday mornings from 7-10 a.m. when the park is closed for maintenance.