South Hadley lands dog park grant

  • South Hadley Town Hall  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/2/2019 3:15:16 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — The town is one step closer to establishing a dog park on Mulligan Drive thanks to a $21,578 planning grant from the Stanton Foundation.

The foundation, which funds up to $25,000 in design costs for dog parks and 90 percent of up to $225,000 in construction expenses, fully met South Hadley’s funding request, said Town Administrator Mike Sullivan.

At a special Town Meeting in November, members passed two articles supporting the establishment of a dog park: one article directing the town to enter into an agreement with Friends of South Hadley Dog Park to establish the park on Mulligan Drive, and a second article directing the town to match the Stanton Foundation grant and finance other startup costs associated with the park.

The town is currently in the process of finding a landscape artist who, under Stanton Foundation regulations, must have at least one year’s experience building a dog park.

Once the design has been completed and submitted to the Stanton Foundation, Sullivan said that the town should hear within weeks about a construction grant. The town must have the project completed within one year of receiving the construction grant, according to Sullivan.

“It’s reasonable to think we may be able to start construction by late July and have it completed for the fall,” he added.

Although both articles supporting the creation of a dog park were passed with majority support at the special Town Meeting, some members dissented based on factors such as the park’s proposed location next to a golf course, with one member noting concerns that people at the dog park could be hit by golf balls.

In response to this concern, Town Meeting members passed an article amendment stating that the dog park’s location would be on Mulligan Drive “or any other suitable property as determined by the Select Board.”

Anyone is welcome to suggest other locations, Sullivan said, but the town is currently continuing to look at the original area on Mulligan Drive as its primary location for the dog park.

Sullivan praised the creation of a dog park as an opportunity for “socialization of not only the dogs, but also their owners” and an additional resource for recreation.

“Expectations are changing as demographics and as culture changes in towns like South Hadley,” Sullivan said, “and this is just one more part of a large populace, dog owners, that will have this recreational opportunity.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


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