Volunteers needed for spring cleanup Saturday at Northampton’s unofficial dog park

  • Judith Fine in 2016. Fine is calling for volunteers to help clean up Smith Farms Field, which is frequently used as an unofficial dog park. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 4/24/2018 12:55:23 PM

NORTHAMPTON — While the city has no official dog park, local dog walkers have been flocking to the Smith Farms Field for decades. But their use of the property has been controversial, as some have complained about the mess dogs can leave behind.

Judith Fine, a retired businesswoman and former city councilor, is hoping to help remedy the situation by organizing a spring clean up event.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and additional volunteers are needed, Fine said.

The Smith Farms Field property is owned by the state but is leased to the city of Northampton. The property is overseen by the board of trustees of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, which has given approval for the clean up event, according to Fine.

Fine, who often walks her two labrador retrievers, Shugar and Spice, at the park, said the area is an invaluable resource to local dog owners.

“This place is an absolute gem for all who use it,” Fine said Tuesday. “So let’s show how much we care about it and clean it up.”

Fine acknowledged that many people who use the site for other purposes, such as running and disc golf, see dog walkers as a problem.

But she said that she and other dog walkers have worked hard to “gain the respect of the trustees, the public and each other.”

“We don’t want to misuse or disrespect this place,” she said.

Valley Recycling has donated a small dumpster for the event, Fine said, and a truck will be on site to help remove trash.

Volunteers are asked to bring a rake, gloves and a shovel, if possible. Heavy duty bags will be provided.

If the event is cancelled due to rain, it will be rescheduled for May 5. Fine said a sign will be posted in the parking lot in the event it is rescheduled.

This story has been updated to correct the date of the cleanup.


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