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Stratford Dog Park Denied Roosevelt Forest

That’s according to the man behind the movement. One town official, however, says they just need more information.

If there is to be a dog park in Stratford, it does not look like it will be at Roosevelt Forest.

Although the town body that controls the 250-acre property has not officially turned down the idea, the Stratford man campaigning for the park says it's been a "tough sell" and some town officials have recommended to look elsewhere.

"They don't see where we fit in with their forest plan," Matt DeBernardo said of the Roosevelt Forest Commission (RFC). "They don't know how it'd change the dynamic of the forest."

Peter Mariconda is vice chairman of the RFC.

"My take is the commission is for it -- we just need more information," said the seven-year member of the commission. "This is something completely new."

He said there have been proposals to use the land in the past, but never something "that would require disturbing or breaking ground on the forest."

DeBernardo has said the dog park would operate on 1.5 to 2 acres of land, be enclosed by a fence and wood chips would cover the ground.

Meanwhile, a town official outside the RFC, who DeBernardo declined to name, said to come up with a list of 12 other locations where the dog park could exist.

And he's mulling the options. "They're not as serene or large as Roosevelt Forest [but] they're away from main roads and known by the community."

DeBernardo said. "We just need the town to find a place for us," he added.

Note: RFC Chairman Robert David did not return a call for comment last week.
Bill O'Brien June 25, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Matt, Carissa and their committee have done a lot of homework and groundwork to locate and fund a dog park. They appeared before the Parks and Recreation Committee many months ago to make a well prepared presentation. Also I have given them a copy of a survey (available upon request to anyone) of other communities who responded to a CT Parks and Recreation Association inquiry about their dog parks. Personally i don't see the need for such a park in Stratford. Yet I applaud those who do want one and are volunteering to make it a reality.
STFDGUY June 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Right, but for now you can build low cost shade options. Over time you can update the dog park. It does not need to be aesthetically pleasing from day 1. Btw, ticks are attracted to wood chips. The moisture they retain and shade are perfect for their nests. Research this. Wood chips are great when placed away from dense areas (forest).
libertarian June 25, 2012 at 03:00 PM
That is good to know. Almost every dog park uses wood chips as flooring, as it is easier to pick up poop, can be refreshed easily, and keeps the dogs much cleaner. I havent heard of any of the other dog parks running into the issue of wood chips and ticks. I would imagine a lot of it has to do with acorn production --> mouse population --> tick population. We would make sure that the trees we plant will not drop acorns, that the mice love (and causes more ticks).
Karen E Daden June 25, 2012 at 03:56 PM
5 on the committee???? There are several of us who have contacted Matt and his wife (email, phone, fb). No reply. Town meetings I have attended and they have shown up it became apparent it was a 2 person show. When are the meetings? Enfield, Hamden and Windsor? It is important to also talk to dog parks within the Stratford area. Have they spoken to Public Works to get their input on where a good location would be? Has a fiscal study been done if so is it public? Is this a 501(3)c? Bottom line, this group is stuck on Rossevelt Park. If the research has been done let's see the numbers and locations. What is the business plan? Put it out there for everyone to see. And Carissa and libertarian answer your emails.
Frank Stirna June 25, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Matt for other options for the dog park, it may benefit your group and all of your fellow dog owners, to get a copy of the 2003 update to town plan of conservation and development. There are town open space areas that aren't obvious because as far as I know, they simply are not presently used. I didn't research any of these areas for restrictions or know their exact locations. Although this study was funded by the office of Long Island Sound programs, mainly for the development of a Waterfront Plan/vision it is a version of Stratfords open space plan, when you read this you'll see it's important to protect Core Forests, wetlands and passive recreation areas such as Roosevelt Forest from development. You may find the ideal dog park setting other than one of those three. http://townofstratford.com/filestorage/1302/402/619/PlanofConserv_and_Dev2003.pdf
stratforddogpark@gmail.com June 25, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Delete stratforddogpark@gmail.com 12:40 pm on Monday, June 25, 2012 Thanks so much Frank. Karen, you must be mistaken. You have never contacted us. I checked the stratford dog park account when your friend said you were going to email us. Also, you don't have access to our phone numbers so I am not sure why that is on there. I also asked for your email from that person and never received it. Please contact me via facebook or stratforddogpark@gmail.com to get in touch with us further instead of bashing the project we are spending all of our time on. Please note that I would be happy to supply you with email accounts for the persons working on this project with us. They are of every age and demographic and would love to talk with you more. We met with Public works about three months ago. Mandy Oram the president of Shelton dog park has worked very closely with us. The business plan is absolutely available to you should you choose to participate with our efforts. So is our bank account and other resources.
libertarian June 25, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Hi Karen, You have never contacted us. You have never called us. You have never FB messaged us. We would be more than happy to make these records public. At the meetings, I usually speak, and there are others in the audience. Also, several of our board members work during the evenings, so they cant attend a lot of the town meetings. We let everyone know when we are going to speak or attend a meeting, and invite everyone to join us. Again, I can pull up every single post from our 2 facebook pages to prove this. We spoke with public works, and I am actually awaiting a call back from the Director. We are forming a 501c3. We have a federal tax ID, and an attorney is donating the filing fee. Roosevelt is the idea location, but we are open and are working on other places. Had you attended a meeting or followed us on facebook, you would know that. We have been asking for several weeks now for people to come up with new locations. The business plan is finished, but is continually being updated due to changes in our donation/fundraising. The more money we bring in, and the more items we have donated, the financials change. We do answer our emails within minutes after receiving them. If you would like to meet in person, we would be more than happy to schedule a time to chat. You have a lot of misinformation, which we would love to correct! Also, if you would like to keep this conversation private, feel free to email us. Thank you.
Know what's going on June 25, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Harkins? Got some help or suggestions? Maybe if your office door wasn't locked & you were a leader this wouldn't be such a contentious subject!
libertarian June 25, 2012 at 09:24 PM
we are actually meeting with the Mayor this week. We will keep everyone posted on our Facebook page.
DogsRGreat June 25, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Taxes are already way too high to be considering more expenditures for only part of the beneficiaries - i.e. dog owners. What about a horse part? Or a small race track for car owners? PS I'm a dog owner & live on Peters Lane & walk my dog & prior dogs in Roosevelt Forest regularly. There is hardly ever more than 1 other dog in the part & the most I've seen is 3. Has anyone seen those new Black steel park benches & garbage cab holders around town & in the RF park? You would think this town was flush with money or some vendor made a big score
Joseph Pedoto June 26, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Dear Karen E. Daden, Do you have some specific issue or problem with the Stratford Dog Park Action Committee? Your posts seem awfully harsh and angry. I believe that, according to the information I've read, you've made several factual errors in your comments. One function of a town dog park is to aid in the socialization of dogs, among other goals. The better socialized our dogs are, the fewer problems they will present, like dog-on-dog or dog-on-people aggression. Everyone in the community benefits from this. That's why dog parks have been developed across the country in record numbers over the past decade. You come across as inappropriately angry at a group of people who are trying to do some good, and working to raise the money for their "pet" project. Why? You claim that you support the idea yourself. Any donkey can kick down a barn. It's so easy to trash someone from the safety of your computer keyboard. It also reflects poorly on your judgement to be so critical of people who are simply trying to build something they believe in. Why not get involved and help, instead of simply criticizing?
Donna Rae Henault Caporaso June 26, 2012 at 01:39 AM
The space around the animal shelter is not suitable for a dog park for several reasons. One, there is no dedicated parking in that location. The space borders the Housatonic River and many shorebirds feed and nest along the banks and many species of water fowl that migrate during the fall and winter use that cove for feeding as well. Stratford has so little protected water front property now where birds can exist undisturbed. The town should help locate a parcel. You can search the online database to see what properties the town own here http://data.visionappraisal.com/StratfordCT/findpid.asp?iNext=Y&InfoTable=i_address&SQLBASE=SELECT%20a.pid,%20owner,%20snum||'%20'||sname%20sdesc,%20acct,%20nvl(a.supp,0)%20supp%20,%20a.nondisclosure,%20c.rowid,%20a.i_order%20FROM%20Stratford_CT.i_acct%20c,Stratford_CT.i_address%20b,%20Stratford_CT.i_owner%20a%20where%20owner%20like%20'TOWN%20'||chr(37)%20and%20a.pid%20=%20b.pid%20AND%20a.pid%20=%20c.pid%20AND%20b.pid%20=%20c.pid%20%20%20and%20nvl(a.supp,0)%20=%200%20&ORDERBY=%20order%20by%20a.i_order%20&c1=Owner&c2=Location&c3=Account%20Number&s1=300&s2=300&s3=100&SQLROWID=AACLMbAF/AAAAEGAD4&iorder=17993.
gduncanson June 26, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Is RF off the list? It sounds like one town official asked for a list of "12 other sites" and another asked for "more information". I give you lots of credit for being open about your hopes and plans. If you want a dog park, don't give up--it's just not feasible for the town to give up to 2 acres of RF (which is a preserve) to a group of volunteers (well-intentioned as you are) to build and maintain a dog park. The individual who purchases or adopts a dog assumes responsibility for it's care, including proper exercise. Asking the town for land to create a special purpose park for something that can be easily accomplished with a walk around the block is a luxury which benefits only a few local residents and perhaps equal or larger numbers from neighboring towns. Some residents will list it amongst other examples of town government favoring quick, visible projects in lieu of tackling the critical problems that burden this town. If there is land adjacent to the animal shelter, away from residential areas, and which will fit into the greenway project located nearby, i will think the volunteers can raise money (i'll contribute) for the fence, benches, shade trees, and the town PW can use their earth equipment to plant the trees and distribute wood chips from their stockpile. This would make it an extension of the animal shelter, to serve their needs as well.
gduncanson June 26, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I like your link--didn't realize Franklin School was for sale.
gduncanson June 26, 2012 at 02:18 AM
forgive me for posting twice in a row. I was just re-reading the original story. I'm not that familiar with the area around Wooster, but isn't there some woodsy space across the water from the children's playground? you'll have a parking issue, but if you had a path leading into the woods and then popped out along the water, there wouldn't be exposure to houses behind you, the dogs could play in the water like at Mohegan Lake, and you wouldn't need to worry about being close to the playground or being an eyesore (sorry) to the neighborhood behind Wooster.
libertarian June 26, 2012 at 02:34 AM
We will be fund raising for the entire park. There is almost no tax payer impact, other this trash pick up
libertarian June 26, 2012 at 02:42 AM
We appreciate your suggestions, and we are open to all locations. I personally don't think Wooster would work, but it was suggested to us. The nice thing about this project is that it is quick, and it costs next to nothing. We are a very organized movement and have a solid volunteer base. We are also extremely confident in our fund raising abilities. Also, on a side note, I believe that water at Wooster is contaminated, and I wouldn't suggest dogs go in there. I don't think asking for 2 acres out of 280 acres is unreasonable, especially near the ranger station, which is in complete disrepair. We appreciate your willingness to contribute. You may make a donation through pay pal, or by participating in our 5k road race. Www.bigboyracing.net Thanks!
George E. Mulligan June 27, 2012 at 03:40 AM
It's good to read people actively working to do something constructive. I was amazed to find Mr Pedoto criticising anyone about accuracy and anger, which he appears to want to put words in other peoples' mouths or writing and to frame his bias and anger onto others, per Ms. Darden and in the past myself. How does one authoritively deem intent as not wanting to help, when the first post was about wanting to help and a second post was perhaps frustration on not being able to contact the organization? I've seen Ms Darden involved in community meetings. I've also seen the delightful couple trying to create a dog park without using tax payer money. There appears to have been a communications problem whereas each party couldn't find the other, from what I read. Now it appears there are easy ways to reach each other and hopefully help each other. People on my street walk their dogs and even a wander with a parrot. I'm unsure about a single dogpark at one end of town and not a couple of miniparks in each of 10 Districts when neighbors could socialize with fellow pet owners? I'm not qualified to comment on animal aggression and dog parks. However, whatever works to make people a little happier, I favor. I suspect that is true for each blog poster, when they step back and think about the smiles bought to them by pets, children, and nice neighbors / pet owners.
Charles Cornwallace June 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Sounds like more spending to me. Who would care for the parks? Is there liability that comes with them? If you were to ask me: I believe that during hard times, cultures tend to lean toward grandiosity—they try to build or spend themselves out of disparity. The Great Depression resulted in some of the most monumental undertakings the world had ever seen—everything was built in excess and big. History now reveals that none of this worked however and we are left with the obvious, sometimes less is always better. Stop spending. This is a town not a metropolis. Let’s scale it down a bit. Hold-up on the golf carts on the roads and the dog parks. Create a thousand jobs and then celebrate by adding something—let’s use a Parker Brothers’ approach to things in order to simplify it for the me-me-I-I crowd out there. This is in no way meant as an attack on the dog park proponents that have worked tirelessly on this project; however, it does reflect the fact that we are losing permanent residents while at the same time picking up transient ones and this cannot be good for the town in the end. This crisis should be the only “crisis” being addressed at this time.
CTstyle June 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM
How about somewhere near the new Greenway? There is a lot of open space, pretty views and is a nice setting with the pathway close by.
Joseph Pedoto June 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Gee, George E. Mulligan, as anyone who has read my responses to your letters in The Stratford Star knows, I use humor, not anger when trying to parse your long lists of unfounded accusations. With the record of wild claims you've made in the past, you're probably the least credible person I know of to speak on the topic of accuracy. You've publicly accused the Stratford Town Council of murder and claimed you can prove that cocaine is regularly distributed from Sikorsky Airport. I've repeatedly asked you to make your evidence public and you've consistently refused to do so. The fact that you lack credibility is the reason you aren't prosecuted as an accessory after the fact, for withholding information about drug smuggling. You've also stated that you expect to be murdered before you can collect your retirement benefits. If your track record is any indication, this means you will a long, healthy life and continue far into the future as the town's most prominent gadfly. I raise a glass of home-made lemonade to your continued good health! In the spirit of full disclosure, I've recently (this past week) joined the Stratford Dog Park Action Committee and am contributing my graphics skills to the cause.
George E. Mulligan June 28, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Mr. Pedoto hasn't spoken to me in private & out right lied about my life. His post dissembles partial truths. There's 3 to 5 minute time limit to speak @ Town Councils' Public Forum. > I also give documentation to them & the press. > To my knowledge Mr. Pedoto hasn't had access to getting that info, limiting his knowledge. Mr. Pedoto was shut down at ST JOSEPH Mayor debate, due to badgering. There's a 500 word limit to Letters to the Editor. I sacrifice grammar & readability for cramming facts about disparate PUBLIC ISSUES & layout verifiable facts where tax payer monies are spent & other issues. - Star, Post, & Patch are given handouts @ monthly Town Council Meetings & documented verification of facts are sent with Letters. > Newspapers wouldn't print Libel. U.S. Justice Department website & literature profiled various information and profiled smaller airport like SIKORSKY & TWEED as possible points of cocaine entry (like Bpt Banana boats) Mr. Pedoto do you claim that NO COCAINE ever came through SIKORSKY AIRPORT, despite being owned by Bridgeport without night security present? Town Council Public Forum is a 1st Amendment venue I.ve never claimed anyone on the Stratford Town Council committed murder! I've given Police, Press, elected officials information about series of very unique deaths which appear as natural cause or accidents. - I've peacefully sought investigation, to no avail. - I didn't coin the term CORRUPTICUT. NEXT
George E. Mulligan June 28, 2012 at 05:16 AM
I apologize to people looking to read about the dog park which I feel is a nice idea, for people to enjoy life. However, Mr. Pedoto & I view things differently, which I respect & I thrive on honest constructive criticism. Perhaps a personal conversation may be more appropriate venue, as there isn't a viable alternative. Other strings I've posted: Unfunded Mandates average 3-4 Mils lost annually PENSIONS, are NOW 4 mils >@ $ 19m up 1000% since 1990 HEALTH CARE, - 2010 $ 185 m Budget = $ 51.7 m were Benefits 2010-2011 O.T. FIRE $ 2 Million POLICE $ 1.5 Million ATTORNEY FEES average $ 200k 1990s > $ 1.5 to 1.8 m since Mayor 3 FAILED BIDS each 1 - Shakespeare Theater 2 - AVCO RAYMARK virtually nothing done since 2001 I was the only speaker against May 2010 sewer fee increase $280>$345 May 2010 over $103 million Bonded 1970s Business - paid 76% of Stratford Taxes 2003 Residents - paid 76% of Stratford Taxes I have to depend on government for FOI information Harder to get than under Miron. There are huge questions in CAFR, BUDGET, & BONDING Verifiable? Town Website or Library Reference=Budgets. Mr. Pedoto finds me not credible. He isn't alone. However I've repeatedly challenged the Mayor, Town Council, Town Attorneys to debate. None accept. As to my nutty Letters to the Editor, NO Town Councilor, Attorney, & neither Mayor contends I was in error (I do make honest mistakes) Maybe I lack communication skills? Good health!
George E. Mulligan June 28, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Of the TOP Stratford 29 PENSIONERS, (OVER $ 83,000) 25 are: Department Heads = Chiefs, Directors Supervisors Deputy / Assistant Chiefs Captains Lieutenants The other 3 are Detectives & a Sargeant. Most retired 2003 to 2008. Several retired since with a rumored 8 pending retirements OVER $ 100,000 ANYONE can email & get a FREE EXCEL of ALL 620 PENSIONERS in attachment form. I always ask for 3 TABS 1 - ALPHABETICAL 2 - DATE RETIRED 3 - HIGHEST PENSION to LOWEST. They contain: Name Department Type retirement Birth Date = this should be redacted or eliminated before sent Date Hired Date Retired Monthly Pension Annual Pension 50 cents a page you can get Pension Calculation sheets Contains: Last 2 or 1 year compensation CASH OUT Lifetime Pension (gross) Contribution Subtract CASH OUT from GROSS Lifetime Pension Contribution Calculates NET Lifetime Pension Contribution. Pending PENSION either # 2 or may become # 1 highest PENSION. So far 2008 retired police captain: Highest Pension *$ 84,850.00 Base Pay $ 134,525.28 Annual Pension $ 140,107.79 Career Lifetime GROSS Pension Contribution -$ 44,438.94 CASH OUT Subract CASH OUT for unused Leave + following year unused leave (also included in the calculation and they included uniform allowance) $ 95,668.85 NET Lifetime Pension Contribution $ 411896.30 = His last 2 years income with $84,850 Base, under (D) Miron/Burturla 2003-2009 Pension Boards (R)
Joseph Pedoto June 28, 2012 at 08:56 AM
My Dear George, I must respond to two mis-statements on your part. My wife and I were present at the Town Council Budget Meeting in 2005 where, in fact, you made the accusation of murder against the then-sitting Town Council. You also claimed they were involved in a cover-up of said murder. Secondly, I was most certainly not "shut down. . .due to badgering" at the mayoral debate George refers to. As those who were present know, I was the first person to ask a question of George to which he was unable to make a coherent response. I believe it was Daniel Patrick Moynihan who first said,"You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts." George, I don't know if you are a dog owner or not. If not, I would strongly recommend that you get one. It might sweeten your world view. And your dog would ALWAYS find you credible. I hope that, despite our differences, you will continue to support the creation of a dog park in Stratford with as much enthusiasm as you demonstrate in other areas.
George E. Mulligan July 01, 2012 at 04:28 AM
I prefer dogs to cats, or any other pet. However I prefer to own neither. Other people can do as they choose. I generally support a dog park as likely harmless & likely good. Mr. Pedoto & I must agree to disagree on his post. He is entitled to his opinion/perspective & I'm entitled to mine. I respect that he puts out his name with his position & is passionate. Further, he has some activities which try to help others. Nice. Our posts crossed, which I hadn't seen. Mr. Pedoto: There are multiple series of deaths & accidents. They've been reported to police & every town council since 1998. Police/Prosecutors/Judges at all levels of government are appointed, promoted, & hired by political people. Some things don't get investigated, like POLICE UNION GRIEVANCE DOCUMENTING it was impossible for a CERTAIN POLICE CAPTAIN to have worked hours claimed. 2 years GROSSED over $ 400,000 Base Salary: $ 84,850, Annual Pension: $ 134,050 x 30 years= $4 million Contributed $ 140,000 NET minus $ 44,000 CASH OUT, =$ 95,000 contributed in 27 years -- I was hospitalized in September. I believe I was poisoned, fell, & got an leg infection a couple days later. In the hospital I described symptoms I experience then & the prior December, which matched arsenic poisoning. I learned: "If anyone is poisoned & blood or urine aren't tested within 24 hours, it doesn't show up in TESTS. I asked There are more discreet toxins, pathogens, & triggers!
Joseph Pedoto July 01, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Dear George, You may be right about the town’s pension issues, I simply do not know the truth of the matter. Having lived in NYC for 25 years I know that abuses of union contract pensions were a frequent news topic. However, in the majority of cases the way the contracts were written it was permissible for employees to work extra shifts and over-time in their last years prior to retirement in order to boost their pensions. It was a flaw in the system, but perfectly legal. I choose not to believe that the world is secretly run by a hidden cabal. Human beings are lousy at keeping secrets. For your viewpoint to be true it would require the coordination of hundreds of thousands of people working in perfect sync over many decades. You yourself once wrote that in your family this conspiracy went back to letters from your father dating from WWII. A very wise man once told me, “Anything is possible, but is it likely?” Regardless, I am happy to have your support for an off-leash dog park in Stratford. It would be, as Raymond Carver so beautifully wrote, “a small, good thing” for our town.
George E. Mulligan July 02, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Mr. Pedoto, For what it's worth, I've always supported the dog park as presented, evening giving the young couple some direction at their first town council meeting. My phone # & address are published. I'm available to be contacted, instead of internet or newspaper. I've limited mobility. I work weekdays. I'd be willing to meet in a public place. You can go to stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/ where I'm relentlessly mocked. I counter PERSONAL INSULTS whereas I try to post PUBLIC ISSUES. - There are certain things simply not appropriate for blog or newspapers. They will not be discussed, nor will I post rebuttals ad nauseum to those who have vested interest to discredit me. Are conmen or thieves going to announce his/her intentions? If slippery slopes of wrong doing gradually go out of control ... unintended consequences ..... Book: "Rockefeller syndrome" Police/Attorneys/Judges at each court house know everything illegal going on in their geographic area. Mr. Pedoto, it's a world of specialist, who lack big picture generalists' or gestaltist ability to see beyond turf, purview or interest. O.peration Overlord ceased Colonial Empires S.ecrecy=Indoctrinated. S.teganography/Cryptograpy =Language Governments=Compartmentalized. Minions=Cruel Belief structures, general myopia, & too busy, exist keeping many people from stepping back to see what's "hiding in plain sight." Google: Invisible gorilla experiment. Bless
Danny Cook February 20, 2013 at 06:07 AM
How large is Pirhala farm land and is it being use for anything.
Danny Cook February 20, 2013 at 06:14 AM
I agree. Harkins should unlock his office door and let the public in.

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