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New Proposed Location Gains Dog Park Additional Support

Sep 04, 2015 01:03PM ● Published by Bill Gilman

Town Planner Kyle Boyd goes over plans for a town dog park on Pond Street.

Gallery: Dog Park meeting [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

Town Planner Kyle Boyd goes over plans for a town dog park on Pond Street.

 Faced with strong opposition from residents living in the vicinity of Rogers Park, Tewksbury officials have changed the location for a proposed dog park.
At a public meeting at the Senior Center Thursday evening, at which, Town Planner and Conservation and Conservation agent Kyle Boyd outlined a proposal to build the dog park at 130 Pond St. on town-owned land formerly used for the town dog pound.
"We examined all of the town-owned property and determined this was the best possible location," said Boyd. "We had quite a bit of opposition (to Rogers Park). Also, that's a large piece of land and we had wanted to put the dog park near the front. We were concerned that might limit future uses for the property as an actual park."
Nearly 40 residents had attended a meeting back in June, many expressing opposition to the original proposal for Rogers Park. Just over a dozen showed up Thursday night, nearly all of whom supported the new location on Pond Street.
Tewksbury officials plan to apply for a $250,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation, which would pay for all of the deign costs and 90 percent of the construction costs for the dog park.
"Nothing is a done deal yet, not by any means. We still have to apply for the grant," said Boyd.
While the Stanton grant will pay for construction of the dog park, ongoing maintenance will have to be paid for through fundraising. A "Friends of the Tewksbury Dog Park" group will be established to raise money and volunteer their time to maintain the park. In addition, the town would form a "Dog Park Committee" to oversee construction and operations of the facility.
According to Boyd, the proposed dog park would cover one acre of land, divided into two sections. A larger section, .75 acres, would be for large dogs and a smaller section, .25 acres, would be for small dogs.
The element that really attracted town officials to the Pond Street property is the presence of numerous mature trees, which will be incorporated into the design of the park.
"We want to saved as many of the old trees as possible," said Boyd. "we may have to take down some but we want to keep as many as we can as part of the park to give it more a feeling of a real park."
Boyd said some of the infrastructure improvements needed for the site include widening the entrance and clearing an area to be used as a parking area for as many as 10 cars.
Support for the Pond Street location was not universal. Jerry Pilon said he recently purchased the home at 131 Pond Street and expressed concerns about quality of life issues. He told Boyd he would like to see the park itself built as far back from the road as possible to create a maximum buffer zone.
Diane LeBoeuf, 121 Pond St., expressed concerns over public safety. She is concerned that by developing the parcel of land and adding a parking area, it could attract illegal activity such as drug transactions and teen drinking parties.
"It feels like it's too secluded," said LeBoeuf. "There are no sidewalks in that area. It's just too remote. I think it could attract bad people.
Senior Center Director Ashley Springman, another town official working on the dog park project, said she thinks the opposite may prove true.
"I think that bringing (the property) more attention will actually make it safer," she said.
Boyd said the town is willing to listen to and explore all suggestions for ways to ensure public safety on the property both during operational hours for the dog park (dawn to dusk) and after hours. Some suggestions from those in attendance included a locked gate, security cameras, and lighting.

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