Dog lovers still looking for park space
proposed the town-owned Hidden Treasures Park, a 6-acre peninsula between West Street and the Housatonic River, a few months ago. Many dog park supporters agreed it was an idyllic location, particularly for larger dogs to hike, roam and swim.
The park is close to downtown, yet remote enough that it would not disturb residential neighbors or businesses.
Much of the property is level, so it's accessible to older and younger dog owners. Areas are suitable to be fenced off for smaller or more timid dogs.
The hitch is that more than a decade ago the state Department of Environmental Protection approved using a section of the park for flood plain control. Excavation for that was recently started.
Mayor Murphy said she has asked the DEP to change the flood project so it does not interfere with the opening of a dog park. She is still awaiting the agency's approval.
Without the DEP's cooperation, the park would be a far less suitable spot for the dog park, organizers agree.
In recent weeks, Ms. Cubby said, committee members have looked at other potential sites, public and private. There are still high hopes for Hidden Treasures, but they want some options.
"I'm just hoping someone will call or knock on my door and say, 'You know what? We want a dog park so much we're willing to give a piece away," Ms. Cubby said with a chuckle. "That would be awesome."
Meanwhile, things are not at a standstill.
A fund-raising group is meeting to brainstorm ideas for projects to raise the money needed to pay for fencing when a park is established, expected to be between $15,000 and $20,000.
The mayor said she still has high hopes to use Hidden Treasures as a dog park, but she is tapping other contacts to see if some smaller places might be suitable to start.
She said there might eventually be more than one park, with different spots appealing to different dog personalities.
"We want something, and we want to stay positive," Mayor Murphy said. "We're going to have a park."
Anyone interested in assisting with the dog park effort is asked to contact Ms. Cubby at email@example.com.