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Town’s dog park might be delayed

by | Apr 6, 2020 | Featured Front Page, News

The town’s first official dog park could open by late fall or early winter, Parks and Recreation director Jay Guelfi said, although the coronavirus crisis could delay that.

Representatives of Leonard Design Associates of Arlington presented plans for the park at a public forum, part of the March 11 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The park will be located at 68B Fruit St., along the access road to the Fruit Street athletic complex.

Only one resident attended the public forum. Notices were sent to about 20 addresses that abut the property, Guelfi said. No properties are located within 1,000 feet of the proposed park.

Town Meeting voters in spring 2019 approved plans for the dog park, based on two forms of funding.

The park will be funded by $150,000 of Community Preservation Act funding. The Community Preservation Act is funded through a portion of property tax bills and aims to preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing and develop outdoor recreational facilities, such as dog parks.

An additional $250,000 in grant funding is being sought through the Stanton Foundation, which supports the development of enclosed dog parks throughout the state.

The foundation previously had awarded Hopkinton a grant for a proposed site at 85 Main St. but that location did not work out so the grant was returned, Guelfi said.

The park will feature a 22,000-square-foot fenced-in facility, with a larger space and a smaller space for smaller dogs or dogs that might be shy and more comfortable within the small area.

Features include potable water for the animals, a watering station for cleaning dogs that may have become muddy or otherwise dirty, benches, an irrigation system, agility equipment and a gazebo for shade.

The park will be lined with rice stone, which is easier to clean and more comfortable for dog paws.

Hours will be dawn to dusk, as the park will have no lights. The park will be open to the general public.

“We’ve had people for the past four or five years request” a dog park in town,” Guelfi explained. This is “our response to a lot of people in town asking for it.”

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, the design phase was scheduled to take place this spring, with groundbreaking in the fall and completion by late fall.

In the wake of the crisis, “everything’s up in the air now,” Guelfi said, in terms of timing. “Everything’s going to be pushed out.”

Editor’s note: This story appears in the April 8 print edition of the Hopkinton Independent.

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