By Angela Higginbotham

The Josh Heinz Foundation is committed to making a difference in the community. The foundation recently celebrated the improvements to Paws Park Dog Park, thanks to the generous donors over the past year. Through the generosity of supporters, family, and friends, a dream has become a reality.

Shade shelters, benches, paved sidewalks, improved irrigation, overhead lighting and a K-9 turf were all improvements made to better accommodate visitors to the park. The memory of Joshua Heinz, a 31-year old Jacksonville resident who was tragically killed in January of 2014, lives on through this park enjoyed by so many dogs and their owners.

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Josh Heinz had a love for animals, especially for his own dog, Jackson. Heinz rescued Jackson as a puppy from a Gainesville animal shelter and he spent time training Jackson to be a United States service animal. The two spent many hours volunteering at the Jacksonville Humane Society, as well as Paws Park. Heinz felt passionate about bettering the lives of both animals and their owners. He often gave advice to other pet lovers, as well as helping owners train their pets to become service animals.

“A horrific tragedy has been turned into a wonderful community asset. Josh’s dog, Jackson, was the first dog inside the gate,” said Mary Ann Heinz, Josh Heinz’s mother. “We are thankful for the city and the help we received in putting in the lights quickly and also for the monument remembering Josh that will be installed soon.”

Paws Park Dog Park is a membership playground and is located at 468 Penman Road South in Jacksonville Beach. All owners and dogs are welcome to join and enjoy this wonderful asset to the city. Additional fundraisers will be held in the future as more improvements and needs arise.

Visit for more information about the Josh Heinz Foundation.


Photos courtesy Josh Heinz Foundation
The Heinz family cuts the ribbon on the new improvements at Paws Park.

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