Town land next to Stonehouse at the Westwoods public golf course is being considered as a possible site for a new Farmington dog park.
“We’re trying to do something that will really quite frankly be good for the town,” Edie McClure, a member of the Farmington Dog Park Coalition, told the Farmington Town Planning and Zoning Commission at a meeting in September.
She and Jen Scarritt, another member of the coalition, made an informal presentation to the commission at the meeting. Both of them have been involved in planning the project for two years.
“What we would really like to know is what concerns you might have, what things we could be doing that might help everyone get a handle on what we’re proposing here,” Jen Scarritt, a member of the Farmington Dog Park Coalition, told the commission.
The park, in the informal plans, would be completely enclosed by a fence with possibly two entry points. There would also likely be bags and receptacles for the owners to dispose of their dogs’ waste. The waste would likely be removed weekly.
The coalition members told the commission that they are considering mulch for the park over grass.
The group has met with the Town Council already and animal control officer for informal discussions. Coalition members have also visited dog parks in Simsbury, Granby, Bristol, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield and Manchester.
“We prepared a very substantial proposal for exactly what the dog park would be based on our experience visiting other dog parks,” Scarritt said.
Commission members asked who would maintain the public-private dog park and whether the town or the coalition could be liable if there was an incident resulting in injury.
It would be a public-private partnership, Scarrit said.
The coalition plans to form a nonprofit and raise money to fund the maintenance of the park. Volunteers would likely rotate as park ambassadors with the authority to ask owners with overly aggressive dogs to leave if there were an issue and to clean up waste left behind.
The coalition said the group would be legally protected by limited liability law, so it would be the owner’s responsibility to control their dogs.
“I have never encountered a situation when if a dog is having a bad day that the owner does not remove it quickly,” McClure said.
Commission members also asked about the proximity to nearby houses, lighting and possible noise concerns that could arise.
Scarritt said that the coalition has also spoken to the neighbors to keep them informed.
“We want to be friendly neighbors and we do want to work with them,” she said.
The park would likely be open from dawn to dusk and there would be no lighting on the site.
McClure said that the town has “been working diligently” with the coalition on project planning. The coalition is researching answers to the commissions questions and also "exploring potential alternative locations" with the help of town officials, Scarritt wrote in an email to Patch.
“They’re doing a very good job of vetting their options,” Farmington’s new Town Planner Robert Phillips said.
What's on your wish list for the possible Farmington dog park?