Community raising money for Rainbow Bridge at Furfield Park in Fairfield

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

A group of Fairfield residents wants to bring the Rainbow Bridge poem to life at Furfield Park.

Tina Barrett, a Fairfield resident and local attorney, is leading the charge with the help of the city of Fairfield and the Fairfield Community Foundation to raise upwards of $200,000 to create a memorial bridge and serenity garden at the River Road park where pet owners can memorialize them.

The Rainbow Bridge is the title of multiple works (including a poem and a short story) about a place where pets go after they die, to one day be reunited with their owners.

“The project will provide an opportunity for some comfort and closure in the loss of a beloved pet,” said Barrett. “Anyone who has suffered a loss, regardless of age, knows all too well the lingering heartbreak after a pet dies, whether it’s a faithful dog, cat or a child’s beloved hamster.”

The idea was sparked a few months ago when a friend of hers posted on Facebook about a trip to North Carolina. During that trip, he left the collar of his late pet at its Rainbow Bridge.

Barrett’s first thought was, “We can do that here,” and reached out to Councilman Dale Paullus about how they can make that happen.

The bridge would not cross a waterway, but would be built on a hill in the park, according to organizers.

While the parks can maintain the bridge, it would be up to Barrett and the community to get the project built. The goal is to raise $200,000, which will build a rather large bridge (it’ll hold about 20 to 30 people) and a serenity garden, where cremated ashes can be spread of dearly departed pets.

“This will be a place where people can have ceremonies, memorial ceremonies for their pets; a place where they can get some closure and a place where they can spread their ashes (into the garden),” Barrett said. “You’re going to see life spring up from the garden.”

There will be removable panels where people can attach their pets’ collars, and when full, new panels will be installed and the full panels will be on display in the garden.

“We’ll never run into the problem of having too many collars,” she said.

Paullus said he “was on board from the time she brought it up to me.”

“I don’t think there’s going to be anyone in the United States of the caliber that this one’s going to be,” he said. “So many people don’t know how to memorialize their pet and this is going to give them that ability.”

There are only a few known Rainbow Bridge projects, including in Utah and one planned in Indiana, Barrett said.

The proposed bridge, which will be made of teke wood will have lots of art, lots of architecture and lots of color. Inspiration Studios in Hamilton is partnering with the project and will provide an artist’s rendering.

There will be a Fairfield Community Foundation fund for the Rainbow Bridge of Furfield Park project and they’ll have community fundraisers, including at the Groovin’ on the Green concern in July.

Anyone can make a donation through the Fairfield Community Foundation (an affiliate of the Hamilton Community Foundation) online by searching the Fairfield Parks Rainbow Bridge Fund on the community foundation page.

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