WESTFORD — A proposed dog park in Westford – which has been planned for over six years – has selected a potential parcel of land for the facility.
“We’ve been diligently trying to find an appropriate parcel of land to have a one acre to two acre space with a small amount of parking of dogs to be off-leash,” said Dog Park Task Force chair Lauren Coffey in a Nov. 29 Select Board hearing.
Coffey notes the committee, along with the Parks and Recreation Committee, have explored each viable parcel in Westford before selecting an approximately two acre parcel near 108 Carlisle Rd. as a potential site for a future dog park.
“The initial committee looked at every piece of Select Board, town-owned land that existed. They discounted some initially because geographically they weren’t in the best location in terms of equal access and things like that,” Coffey told the Select Board.
Coffey noted that this the “last time” the Dog Park Task Force can move the project forward.
“This isn’t just take a stab and pick a parcel. I am feeling like this is the last one. This will be the last time that the Dog Park Task Force will come before the Select Board with a parcel of land.”
Under the current proposal, the park is estimated to cost $176,518.01. The initial cost includes funding for a parking lot, benches, fencing, trashcans, a storage shed and pavilion among other items.
Yearly maintenance for the park is projected to cost $10,919.85, which would be supported through fundraising and donations.
“The idea is that it would be a zero cost once it was built,” she said.
Residents, Select Board reluctant to support proposal
A number of residents expressed skepticism to the location of the proposed dog park.
Resident James Ganiatsos, whose property abuts the proposed dog park, noted concerns with the proposed location.
“We are not opposed to the concept of the project in general, just the proposed location. Our neighborhood is thickly forested, home to an abundance of wildlife ad directly abuts the Mass Audubon conservation land,” Ganiatsos wrote in a public comment.
A number of other Carlisle Road residents cited safety concerns, destruction of historical corridors, congestion and traffic concerns as well as disruption to local wildlife.
The Select Board closed discussions without making a formal decision on the proposal citing safety and traffic concerns.
“We do know that safety is an issue there particularly because of past incidents that have occurred there. Every time we think we’ve found one the parcel presents challenges,” said Select Board Chair Andrea Peraner-Sweet.
She continued, “let’s see if we can’t hang in there a little longer and see if we can work something out.”
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