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Dog Park Proposed to Stratford Town Council

Stratford Town Council hears the argument for a dog park to come to town.

The case for a dog park in Stratford was brought before the Town Council Monday during a public forum at Town Hall.

"There is a large community base that supports the building of a dog park and we hope you agree," resident Carissa Mason told Council members.

Mason and her fiance, Matt DeBernardo, spoke on behalf of at least 550 residents who Mason said had signed .

Cost and Location

"We'd do this completely through fundraising," DeBernardo said. "From talking to the Shelton Dog Park, it'd be about $25,000 -- which we could easily do. All we are really asking for is the town to donate the land."

The park's maintenance could be handled by a group of volunteers, he said.

DeBernardo said both and could be appropriate venues for the park; Roosevelt because it's set away from busy streets, already has parking, running water and maintenance sheds, and Boothe because the back of the park is isolated.

Public forum procedure precludes Council members from responding to residents during their speech. But Councilmen Paul Hoydick (R-10) and Christian Barnaby (R-1) caught up with the Stratford couple afterward.

Outside the doors of Town Hall Council Chambers, Hoydick said trying to build at Roosevelt Forest would be problematic if trees need to be cut down. "We're not going to be able to clear any trees," he said.

Barnaby recommended the couple attend a parks and recreation committee meeting, and have "some specific ideas" on where in Roosevelt Forest or Boothe Park the dog park could be located.

During DeBernardo’s speech he proposed the formation of a "dog park committee," which he said could work hand in hand with the Stratford Town Council and various town commissions and committees.

The Potential Benefits

DeBernardo said the proposed dog park would help strengthen the community, including possibly bringing new faces to town.  

"In a very competitive housing market, whether or not a town has a local dog park can be a deciding factor of whether or not people move to town," he said, adding that the neighboring municipalities of Milford, Shelton, Trumbull and Fairfield already have dog parks.

DeBernardo said a dog park could bring out-of-towners to Stratford, which in turn would boost the local economy as patrons eat at nearby restaurants and shop at local businesses.

George E. Mulligan November 21, 2011 at 03:49 PM
If it takes a (no public money) DOG PARK (imby) to get people civicly active & aware of boonDOGgles ... These people are imby = In My Back Yard. - They realize the FOREST (in FAR NORTH) & BEACH / MARSH (in FAR SOUTH) areas are the most feasible logistically, from a nature stand point. - I don't have a DOG. Or a CAT Or CHILDREN. - Doesn't mean I can't like Puppies, Kittens, or Babies. I take my hat off to people like S.A.R.A.H. who care for the sick pets, or for Doctors, Nurses, Medical field and Special Ed people who care for the ill, diseased, handicapped, & special needs. . I favor EDUCATION over systemic INCARCERATION. . I favor the end of all forms of DEPENDENCIES. Wouldn't it be nice if the Declaration of Independence were reified for ALL AMERICANS? Why not end the LONG TRAINS of (political) ABUSES?
Sarah December 31, 2011 at 01:03 AM
I agree that Stratford needs a dog park. A dog park would be beneficial for residents of the town because it would establish a clear fenced in area where well-behaved canines can exercise and play in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property, or wildlife, all while under the supervision of their owners. The space would need to be a maintained space open to all dog lovers who are willing to follow the park’s rules, restrictions, and expectations of genuine courtesy/etiquette. I’ve been to several dog parks (in other towns and states) and it seems that what is required is as follows: a fenced in area, plastic doggie bags, parking, plastic lounge chairs, fencing, water, trees for shade, posted rules, trash and recycling cans, and wood chips. Great plan designs I’ve seen have included: 1. Solar Powered Lights: For the darker months of the year or night use 2. Handicap Accessibility: Seniors and disabled owners can use an accessible place to exercise their companion and provide an area for community building socialization. 3. Distinguished Smaller and Larger Dog Areas in the Park: Smaller/larger dog areas were established at the entrance with clearly marked signs.
Sarah December 31, 2011 at 01:03 AM
An appropriate location might be near Short Beach Park, Academy Hill Park, Longbrook Park, or Pleasure Beach (if a gravel road was paved to it). It would be wise to place the park near an already established gathering place, such as Short Beach Park (preferably), as community residents already frequent and maintain some of these areas, especially Short Beach Park where an area could easily be fenced off for dogs. Surely we can find an acre of grassland and funding for a chain-link fence, can’t we? PROS: -Dog socialization, play, exercise, safe, non-routine environment -Human socialization and interactions (build community and a sense of pride in the town) -Attractive to potential residents with dogs (potential to increase property value) -Increases visitors to the town (thus they will spend $ at local establishments – another reason Short Beach would be a great area) -Promotes responsible pet ownership and treatment -Potentially reduces barking and other behavior problems associated with boredom dogs experience from lack of areas to play -No leash restriction, which would be beneficial for dogs as leashes restrict dogs from their natural instinct to roam, play, and jump. Leashes also teach some dogs to become territorial, so non-leash experiences are outstanding for dogs.
George E. Mulligan December 31, 2011 at 04:34 AM
Eventually "robots or motorized dog run"s might walk dogs? - Ooops? I just pictured it becoming a "dawg drag?"
Sarah January 10, 2012 at 02:52 AM
@Walt: Sarah's comment is ALSO about having a designated place to socialize dogs and let them run off a leash... Over 600 towns in the U.S. have established dog parks (since the 1970s) and it might be nice for residents to gather together with a common interest. Where's the harm in it?

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