Man honors late mom by opening dog park she suggested 12 years ago

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 10, 2021

OAKLAND, N.J. — A New Jersey man honored his late mother by finally making good on a 12-year promise to open a dog park in their community. And he even named it after her.

Ryan Schwertfeger and other organizers held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Jill Schwertfeger Memorial Dog Park in Oakland on Saturday.


The journey to that ceremony was arduous though. It took a lot of fundraising and years of working with the Borough Council, reports.

Schwertfeger says the park started as a community service project that he started as an 8th grader at Valley Middle School in 2009.

He says his mom, Jill, suggested he work on a dog park, since there was no nearby space for their rescue dog, Scooby, to exercise without a leash.


Sadly, Schwertfeger says his mom died in 2012, before he was able to achieve their goal. Their dog has also passed away. Still, he persisted.

After jumping through several hoops, Schwertfeger finally got the council’s approval for the project in the spring of 2019. And once he raised enough money for the estimated $100,000 park, construction could begin in spring of 2020, according to

Now, Schwertfeger and the rest of his community have a space to spend time with their four-legged friends, and other loved ones.