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.