A Dog’s Eye View: What’s up with the Chelmsford Dog Park?

Please thank Anna B. for getting me off my butt to tend to my blog. There are many things happening around Town (as always). Some days I feel like a squirrel and all the nuts are across the busy street.

But back to Anna’s inquiry…”so how’s the Dog Park Plan coming?”

After four years of looking at multiple sites all over Town, I am happy to report that at this spring’s Town Meeting, Warrant Article 23 will seek to designate a two acre area of 54 Richardson Rd. for use as a Dog Park.

Now some of you are probably sitting here going, “Are you kidding me? Isn’t that where the DPW lives? Why would I want to bring my dog THERE????” And there are others of you asking, “What the…who’s paying for THIS????” And there are probably others of you saying, “By all that’s holy, it’s about time, I’m sick of stepping in dog crap everywhere else!!!” And then there’s that last bunch of you saying “We have enough parks, why do we even need this?”. I will handle these questions, and I’ll even add answers to some other questions I haven’t listed here.

Yes, the DPW currently has their facilities at 54 Richardson Rd., but they will be leaving for their new home at 9 Alpha Rd. sometime later this year. That will open up much of this area for improvements, since right now there is a giant, huge massive pile of dirt and stuff there. The pile of dirt and stuff will be moved somewhere, and in it’s place the Chelmsford Dog Association (CDA) will partner with the Town to construct and maintain a dog park like the one pictured above.  The CDA has been and will continue to fundraise for the park, and once we find a site, we can move forward with finding grants and other funding sources to get it done.

There is a written plan available for download on the CDA website that will give more detail about what we’d like to do there. The idea of a Dog Park was initiated in 2009 by Erik Merrill, Chelmsford’s Animal Control Officer, who even back then was receiving multiple complaints from angry people about dog feces being left on public land, dogs running off leash and getting into conflicts with people, other dogs, cars and wildlife. He realized that people have no place to legally let their dogs run in Chelmsford, and if such a place was available, there would be less dogs running around these public places creating problems for everyone else. He announced a meeting for interested residents to meet and talk about this, and the Chelmsford Dog Association was born. We have applied for our 503(c) designation, which we hope to receive this year, and to date have raised close to $7,000.00 toward a dog park.

The site on Richardson Rd. will need a lot of TLC, and we’re estimating it could cost around $100,000.00 by the time we’re done. With the help of volunteers and interested residents, we will get there. We will continue to host our various events like the Spring Flea Market and Howl’ween. Walgreens is planning a Dog Rally in June which may include a walk-a-thon. We will be visible at the Town’s July 4th activities and parade., and we’ll be providing breakfast and lunch for the German Shepherd Rescue League’s Walk-n-Wag at the 4-H Fairgrounds in September. All of these events and more will help fund our work for the Dog Park.

The CDA would like to thank Town Manager Paul Cohen, former Conservation Commissioner Beth Logan, former Conservation Agent Thad Soule, current Conservation Agent Alison LeFlore, Town Engineer Scott Ludwig, and North Chelmsford Water Commissioner Bruce Harper for their assistance and patience with me for getting us where we are today. There are many others that have helped us along the way, it’s going to be a long speech on Opening Day!

Other things you can look forward to will be the next Coloring Contest for the kids, and a contest to name the park. We will also be announcing work sessions for the design, engineering, and construction of the park.

Anyone with questions is highly encouraged to ask them here or visit our Facebook page under “Chelmsford Dog Park” or “Chelmsford Dog Association”.

Our next meeting will be held at the Chelmsford Police Station Community Room, 2 Olde North Rd., on Wednesday, May 8, at 7PM. Everyone is welcome at our meetings, even the kids. Thank you for your support!

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