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Event Saturday Will Raise Funds for Proposed Port Vue Dog Park

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
September 30, 2016
Posted in: Announcements

Cindy McGraw-Davic lost her fight with small-cell lung cancer almost exactly one year ago, at the age of 46.

Her friends and family don't intend to let go of her memory, or her passion for her pets.

On Saturday, they'll gather at Port Vue's Romine Avenue Fields --- on the site of the old Romine Avenue Elementary School --- to raise money for a new dog park in the borough.

"Bark in the Park" will feature 35 vendors, crafters and artists along with a Chinese auction, face painting and games from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dogs, of course, will be welcome.

Also scheduled to attend are the characters "Chase" and "Marshall" from the TV show "PAW Patrol," officers from the McKeesport police K-9 unit, and the Rev. Hyung-Suk Joe of Port Vue United Methodist Church, who will do a blessing for pets.

McGraw's sister, Holly Turkovic, is one of the organizers of Saturday's event. She said the borough is donating approximately 3 acres of green space for the dog park. 

"Our hope is to build an off-leash, environmentally friendly dog park and eventually use a portion of the green space for gardens, walking trails, and groves as a community gathering place," Turkovic said.

Turkovic said that ever since her sister was very young, "she was always a huge animal lover," often bringing strays home and nursing them back to health. When she got older, Turkovic said, her sister would volunteer at local animal shelters to walk dogs, clean cat cages and manage volunteers.

But it wasn't just animals for which McGraw-Davic had a passion, Turkovic said. She also loved helping others. "Even when Cindy was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment she still made an effort to always help others," Turkovic said. "When she would pass a homeless couple on her way to work, she would stop to give them money, food and water for themselves and their dogs.

"She even took the extra step and helped them fund a trip back to their home state," Turkovic said.

Her sister's memory and legacy deserves to be remembered, she said.

Turkovic and other organizers want the dog park --- tentatively called "Cindy's Bark Park" --- to offer safe and clean amenities, including two fenced-in areas where dogs may play off of their leashes, one for small dogs and the other for larger dogs.

In addition, they envision covered trash cans with bags for dog waste; shade and water stops for dogs and their owners; exercise and agility equipment; and some small structures. A parking area has already been designated, Turkovic said.

Dog parks allow pets to get adequate physical and mental exercise safely away from cars, bicycles, pedestrians and joggers, she said.

A committee of more than 30 people have been meeting on a monthly basis since January to discuss ideas and develop a plan for the park, Turkovic said.

For more information, call (412) 715-9451 or email holly.mcgraw@gmail.com.

Originally published September 30, 2016.

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