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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.

Mark Calzone November 18, 2011 at 08:09 PM
I say save the money and spend it on other needs that are greater, like capital improvements or technology in the school system
Teresa Gallagher November 18, 2011 at 09:09 PM
Mark, they said the funds would be donated.
George E. Mulligan November 18, 2011 at 09:29 PM
I believe WW II Memorial committee raised over $200,000 in donations. . EMS including "BOB" CALZONE donate hundreds to thousands of hours as volunteers. . If money earmarked for schools & technology went to benefit students & not have some slide into peoples pockets ..... (like finders fees or kited Building Needs or Change Orders...) - May 23 - This Town Council Bonded $ 56 million for BoE for SHS & some for BUNNELL. I was @ the Building Needs meeting. I specifically asked consultants the likely BONDING cost? The specific answer was above $ 34 & below $ 40 million, likely in the $ 35 - $ 36 million range. .... - About 2002 the Building of the new Fire House was approved for under $ 2 million. Chris Silhavey did excellent work, but was out voted for higher cost, but still under $ 2 m. A couple Months after the elections (Mr Blake beat Mr Silhavey) Councilor DeCilio raised the question .. "when & how did Fire House cost get above $ 2 m?" Late in Miron administration, Finance Director Norko replied to my FOI, as I was running for Mayor, that the FIRE HOUSE cost approached $ 7 million. That was 2009. - I wouldn't bet more repairs & change orders have total cost near $ 9 million. - Strange how once Lou DeCilio became Republican Registrar of voters & paid about $ 27,000 annually + about $ 35,000 in Benefits for 20 hour work, he only knows how to write about "Republicans good / Democrats bad!" - Is Mr. DeCilio silent on REAL FINANCIAL ISSUES?
Roosevelt D. Walker November 19, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I already walk & have walked my dogs for years in Roosevelt Forest. I cannot understand why there needs to be a more specific location within Roosevelt Forest, since it is so under utilized. There aren't 5 dogs a week walking these trails. My picture windows over looks one of these trail. So the 25K is donated. Big Deal. There are no volunteers there now doing anything for us that walk our dogs in the Forest. What are they going to do? Is the town going to indemnify the actions of the volunteers whatever they may be? What do the people in Stratford do now to walk their dogs without the volunteers? Is this some hardship? I have a better idea: I collect Corvettes. How about a filling station in the Forest. That way I can fill up my Corvettes when I walk my dogs in the forest & kill 2 birds with one stone. PS I really don't kill birds.
Sarah November 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Some areas in stratford are not safe for walking dogs. Having a dog park would give residents with dogs a safe place to meet, a place for dogs to socialize and a place for dog owners to socialize as well. Why not offer residents a place to get together and enjoy their dogs? Being able to let your dogs run off lease is a great way for dogs to exercise and currently there is no place in Stratford where you can do that - besides your own back yard if it's fenced. A dog park is a great idea and having volunteers take care of it is the way to go! I support this 100%
Tom November 19, 2011 at 06:15 PM
I say: see if we can get some FREE money from a hedge fund.
Tom November 19, 2011 at 06:20 PM
"It seems to me that the ingenious legal creatures developed by tax experts to solve the unusual social, economic,and legal problems of the past several generations will become Frankensteins.." (Wormser, 1958)
Walt November 19, 2011 at 09:35 PM
How's this for an idea? If you don't have anywhere to walk a dog you don't get one. If I buy a border collie should I be provided with a couple of acres and some sheep too?
bill November 20, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Brilliant.
OldManTeenager November 21, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Worst idea maybe ever.
Joanne Libby November 21, 2011 at 02:33 PM
I believe the purpose of a dog park is to have a place where dogs can 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?
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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