Two Dog Park Options Presented to Selectmen

By Meredith McCulloch

It was standing room only at the Selectmen’s Meeting Room on May 29 when the ad hoc Dog Park Task Force presented its recommendations to the Selectmen. Chair William Moonan made it clear from the onset that the board would not be hearing public comments that night, but that a hearing will be planned in the future after the Selectmen have had time to review the material and walk potential sites, etc.

Daniel Hurwitz, chair of the task force reported that the group had reviewed more than 10 suggested sites for a dog park. Suggestions came from a wide range of sources including the DPW, the Recreation Department, and individual citizens. Over seven months potential locations were added and discarded as they were weighed against established criteria. The prime criteria are the availability of a water source, distance from abutters, safety concerns, and extra site-specific costs. The group recently arrived at a small group for more scrutiny, ending with two sites to recommend to the Selectmen.

Click this link to view/download/print the ad hoc Dog Park Task Force Recommendations to the Selectmen

One is located off the road into Springs Brook Park (Site A) adjacent to the VA golf course. (Other sites located deeper into the park were considered but then rejected.) If this site were chosen the gate admitting drivers into SBP would be moved down the road so the park could be closed, but still allow entry to the dog park. The site has fewer abutters in close proximity. A water line would need to be brought in from a nearby water main.  The site offers some shade. The scale of tree removal would depend on the exact location of the park. Aerial pictures appear to show that some patches in that area are less dense with vegetation than others.  The nearest abutter is 240 feet away. Some existing parking is available.

A second recommended site is beside town-owned garages near the VA Hospital (see sketch attached.) A water source is closer here than the SBP site at 175 feet to the end of the water main on Springs Brook Road. The nearest abutter is estimated to be 175 feet away.

Selectman Caroline Fedele, the Selectmen’s liaison to the Task Force, asked that town staff gather information from surrounding towns with dog parks, based on a uniform set of questions. She also commented that there is no point in estimating costs until a specific site is chosen.

Next steps are for the Selectmen to choose a site, to apply for the Stanton Foundation Grant, create a preliminary sketch, and to develop a budget.


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