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Selectmen Given Update on Upton Dog Park

Bill Taylor of the Open Space Committee provided

the Board of Selectmen an update on the possibility of building a dog park on one of the town's open space pieces of property. The discussion took place during a June 4 meeting.

In March, resident Michael Howell came before the Selectmen looking for direction on the initial steps that need to be taken to build a dog park in town. According to Howell, a number of residents he'd spoken to favor the idea. Howell suggested a possibility for the park could be a portion of Stefan's Farm.

During the June 4 meeting, Taylor explained to the Selectmen that Howell attended an Open Space Committee meeting and was told the site considered on Stefan's Farm will not work due to a turtle habitat. In addition, other areas of the town-owned property have difficult access

areas that would be costly to modify for the park. It was also thought the Recreation Commission might know of some town-owned land that might be suitable for the dog park but it was explained such

an endeavor doesn't fit into the Commission's charge. Still, Taylor did say results of the Open Space and Recreation Commission's recent survey did state there was quite a

bit of interest among residents to create a dog park. "It's probably worth pursuing. I think we'd need to create a Dog Park Committee," said Taylor. The town of Kingston, Taylor said, built a dog park by forming a feasibility committee and then an implementation committee, whose members created a comprehensive, 45 page report on the measure. The entire process took several years to complete. "There's a lot of work to do it right," Taylor said. "From my perspective, the hardest part, at least initially, is finding a piece of land that's suitable. It should be centrally located with enough room for parking and you don't want it to be too close to homes because of possible noise."

Selectman Maureen Dwinnell asked if the Kingston committee would be willing to share its report, to which Taylor replied yes. Should the Selectmen form a Dog Park Committee, members would likely consist of representatives from the Land Stewardship Committee and the Recreation Commission, private citizens, and the animal control officer would need to be involved. Grants are available to help communities build their own dog parks. Kingston also used some of its Community Preservation Act funding.


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