The couple advocating for a presented their case last week to the town body that regulates the land which they would like to see the park operate on.
"We wanted to explain that our volunteers would be an available resource for the forest too," Carissa Mason told Stratford Patch, via email. "We would be beautifying an underused area of the park."
Out of the 250 acres of , the dog park would operate on 1.5 to 2 acres, Mason's fiance, Matt DeBernardo, told the Roosevelt Forest Commission last week.
The fenced-in area would have two sides; one for small dogs 25 pounds and under, and one for large dogs 26 pounds and over. Minimal clearing is required and wood chips would cover the ground, DeBernardo said in his presentation. Proposed amenities include trash receptacles, benches, a kiosk, waste removal sites and a water spigot.
Mason said in her email that the only concern from the commission seemed to be location within the park. She said that will be something to be worked out at a future time. The commission supported the idea of running water at the dog park, said Mason, adding that running water is a "definite perk that many dog parks do not have."
In his presentation, DeBernardo gave reasons why Roosevelt Forest is the right fit for a dog park:
- Set away from busy streets
- A serene setting
- Already dog-friendly -- "Can always find someone walking their dog on one of the trails."
- Already furnished with parking, running water, maintenance sheds
DeBernardo stressed that the dog park can run without financial assistance from the commission nor the town of Stratford. He estimated the total cost of the park between $27,000 to $30,000 -- the bulk of it, $20,000, to purchase and install fencing.
"Fundraising and local business donations can reduce this number significantly," noted DeBernardo, adding that sponsorships, the Buy-a-Brick program, signage and advertising for local businesses could also help pay for costs.
Surrounding towns like Shelton have been able to raise enough money to maintain similar dog parks, DeBernardo said.
The formation of the Stratford Dog Park Action Committee (SDPAC) was made during the presentation. The committee, still assembling members, would work hand in hand with the Roosevelt Forest Commission and the town of Stratford, and would help facilitate volunteerism, maintenance, operation of park and fundraising, DeBernardo said.
The SDPAC would be responsible for all supervision and operating expenses of the dog park and would work closely with public works to install amenities and then keep the park clean.
[Anyone interested in becoming a part of the SDPAC should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Volunteers would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the rules of the park, which would be posted on a kiosk, DeBernardo said.
The Stratford couple's push for a dog park is who say it would enhance the quality of the community, boost local business and interest in town, and offer dogs a place to run off-leash.
"This will be a boon to local families whose members include a pooch. If you don't have a dog, this isn't going to cost you anything so why not sit this one out?" said in the comments section of a previous article on the dog park, in response to a dog park naysayer.