SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Southside Dog Park serves as a gathering spot for canines and their human companions and, since being established in 2017, several individuals and local organizations have dedicated their time and talents in the form of various aesthetic improvements. 

Most recently, Jack O’Shaughnessy,a member of South Plainfield’s Boy Scout Troop 309, set out to beautify the park for his Eagle Scout project and, last month, two dog bone shaped benches were installed, mulch was put down, a 200-foot flower bed was created, and the wooden railing around the park was stained. 

“My mom usually takes our dogs every day and there wasn't really anywhere to sit. Now, each bench can sit up to three people,” O’Shaughnessy, whose family has both a yellow lab and a Chihuahua, told TAPinto South Plainfield

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O’Shaughnessy proposed his idea for the park project to the town back in March and, throughout the planning process, worked with Councilwoman Christine Faustini, the borough’s recreation liaison. To offset the cost of the project, including the purchase of the benches from a Texas-based company, O’Shaughnessy sought support from local businesses; KLK Trucking of South Plainfield donated some of the mulch and other companies made monetary contributions. 

Throughout the week of July 15, members of the South Plainfield Department of Public Works installed the two benches and O’Shaughnessy, with assistance from family, friends and fellow troop members, got to work on staining the fencing, digging up the grass to the floor bed, and laying down the mulch; Impact Church is scheduled to plant bulbs at the site in the fall.

“It has been a rewarding experience helping to evolve and facilitate Jack’s Eagle Scout project, currently in final review by the Boy Scout Council,” said Faustini, adding, “It is an honor to see our town’s children grow into accomplished and giving young citizens. Thanks very much to Jack and all who helped with his improvements at our very busy Southside Dog Park.”

“He really did a great job and I feel this project was good for him,” said O’Shaughnessy’s mother, Laura. “It was a great learning experience and, throughout it all, I got to watch him grow, mature and take responsibility.”

O’Shaughnessy, a 2019 graduate of South Plainfield High School who will attend Middlesex Community College in the fall, said he is thankful to all who helped and supported his project, especially his mom.

“She helped me the most and pushed me to do everything that was needed,” he said, adding, “I think it looks great. The benches are shaped like dog bones so they fit in perfectly in the park and now more people have a place to sit.”

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