By Joan Bowen
Note: The charge to the ad hoc Dog Park Task Force is to explore, discuss, and evaluate various pre-determined locations suitable for an off-leash, fenced dog park, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each specific site.
The ad hoc Dog Park Task Force met on Thursday, March 15 to continue its review of potential sites for a dog park. A site visit to one of the sites prior to the meeting was canceled due to the recent snow storm. The meeting was held in the Multipurpose Room with approximately 26 residents attending to hear the discussion and offer comments.
Recently elected chair Dan Hurwitz opened the meeting stating that his goal for the evening was to conduct a civil discussion of potential sites. To ensure a productive discussion he would call for comments during the discussion of each potential site.
At the close of the February meeting, four sites were under consideration. Based on information Ed Pierce secured from the Conservation Commission, use of a portion of the Hartwell Town Forest, near the Hanscom Fam Camp, was eliminated. This land was gifted to the Town for the purpose of conservation and has served as the cornerstone of this program. The Conservation Commission was also concerned about access, given the wetlands within the Forest. Approval of the use of the land for a dog park would not be forthcoming from the Commission.
Hurwitz initiated the discussion of the three remaining potential sites by acknowledging that the primary issues are abutter concerns, potential tree cutting, security, and water access. The discussion that followed centered on identifying the pros and cons of each of the sites, preparatory to a report to the Selectmen. In addition, Caroline Fedele, Selectmen’s Liaison, provided information she secured from the DPW on the questions raised about these sites at the last meeting relating to proximity to abutters and water access. Additional questions were identified during this discussion.
The three sites under consideration are identified as:
- Site I Town garages (Springs Road on edge VA Hospital grounds)
- Site II Springs Brook Park (close to the current parking area to the left of the access road)
- Site III Water Tower/Lindau Farm (off Pine Hill Road)
Site III generated the most significant public input including:
- Safety of entry and exit on Pine Hill Road
- Proximity to the nursery school located at St. Paul’s
- Conflicting use of St. Paul’s parking lot
- Disruption to meditation at the Buddhist Temple
- Disruption to current passive recreational use by abutters
Based on Task Force discussion and public comments, it was agreed that the information on the Task Force website (bedfordma.gov/ad-hoc-dog-park-task-force) needs to be updated. This includes providing sitemaps that identify the potential locations of a park.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 5 at 7:30 pm. Members of the Task Force will meet at the Pine Hill access to the Lindau Farm for a site inspection at 6:00 and also inspect the Springs Brook Park site prior to the meeting.