After earning assurance that volunteers will clean "the bottom of the ark,'' New Milford Town Council members Monday night agreed to the opening of a community dog park on donated land.

Local Kimberly-Clark mill management offered almost an acre of land north of the plant on Pickett District Road mill for use as the town's first dog park a few months ago.

Dog park organizers launched a fund-raising campaign to install a fence with gated areas so both large and small dogs can roam off leash under their owner's supervision.

On Monday night, the council approved a formal, five-year agreement between the town and Kimberly-Clark that allows the park to open as soon as the fencing is installed.

The project costs the town no money, and any liability is covered under the town's current insurance policy as are any other athletic fields and parks, according to Mayor Patricia Murphy and other council membmers.

Kimberly-Clark now allows the town to use some of its other vacant property for youth soccer fields.

Some 20 dog park supporters and organizers came to the Town Council chambers prior to the vote. All were elated their pets will now have a safe place where they can go and be welcomed rather than seen as interlopers.

The only question council member Walter Bayer had for the group was, "Who's going to clean the bottom of the ark?''

Dog park founder and president Chrisanne Cubby said the all-volunteer organization will post rules for proper park and pet etiquette and will be responsible for keeping the property groomed and cleaned.

An Eagle Scout has volunteered to build a kiosk where the group will post information and post its rules, as well as some benches for pet owners.

"We're geared up and ready to go,'' Ms. Cubby said.

With that, Mr. Bayer literally barked his approval.

"Woof,'' he concluded.

Contact Nanci G. Hutson at nhutson@newstimes.com or 860-354-2274.