Dog Park Task Force to Host Public Forum on September 14

By Jaime Craven

All voices are welcome when the ad hoc Dog Park Task Force opens its community feedback forum this Thursday, September 14, at 7:30 pm in the Multi-purpose Room at Town Hall, said the members at their Tuesday meeting. The presentation will include a list of six potential sites, information about the funding and timeline, and a clarification of some common misconceptions surrounding the project.

On September 5, the Task Force released an online survey that showed, according to Lynn Orav’s report, that 71% were in favor of a dog park, while 12% were against it and 17% were unsure. The survey has since garnered close to 400 responses, almost half of which hail from the first 24 hours of the posting. But it’s that 29% that the Task Force hopes to address, and possibly win over this evening.

“The negatives are going to come,” said Chairman Laurie Walsh. “I think our presentation should be positive, informative, and short.”

Perhaps the most pressing concern is whether this project is a worthwhile allocation of the Town’s resources. Why should the Town pay for this park and not, for example, sidewalks and crosswalks? The answer is simple: it won’t, according to the present plan. Instead, the Task Force plans to apply for a grant from the Stanton Foundation, which would fund 100% of the design costs and 90% of the construction.

Other misconceptions, according to the Task Force members, have to do with features such as shade, water, and electricity. All these are “givens,” said Ed Pierce, a Selectman on the Task Force. Some commenters wanted to know if there would be a fence. “Of course there will be a fence,” said Lisa Gedaminsky.

“This town wants to solve problems,” said Pierce. Positive or negative, for or against, it seems everyone in town has a lot to say.

The six potential sites, as of last Tuesday, are as follows:

  • Lavender Lane
  • Hartwell Road
  • Mudge Way
  • South Road
  • Springs Road
  • McMahon Road

The Task Force hopes to narrow this number down to two in time for the November 6 Town Meeting. Their feedback survey will be live until October 10.

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