Green River Park looks like best spot for dog park

GREENFIELD — A Town Council committee’s public forum concerning where to put a dog park was so poorly attended Monday night that even the town didn’t show up to pitch its idea for three possible locations.

Mayor William Martin, who is currently on vacation and has final say on the location, said last week that Economic Development Director Robert Pyers would present his three top choices for where the town might build Paws Park, but Pyers did not show up.

The public forum was held in 114 Main St., where Pyers’ office is located, but his office was dark.

Instead, Christy Moore, the town’s recreation director, said the Recreation Commission recently chose Green River Park off Petty Plain Road and Deerfield Street as the almost perfect location. Moore did not discuss where else the mayor thinks a dog park should be located.

The town has been working for the past year with a group that wants to build a dog park, but one of the biggest hurdles has been finding the right spot for it.

Paws Park of Greenfield, which was started by two residents with dogs, has raised about $2,000 for construction so far. It is not yet clear how much a park will cost.

Most recently, an anonymous private foundation pledged to pay 90 percent of whatever it will cost, but Moore said the town has to own the land where it will be built and will have to follow certain guidelines set by the foundation.

Over the past year, the town has looked at the former Wedgewood Gardens trailer park, which was destroyed by a flood several years ago, but it has too many wetlands-related restrictions.

The former Meadows golf course on Deerfield Street, which the town had considered buying before it learned an offer had already been accepted, was also considered. The mayor seemed to lean toward the Meadows until it was taken off the market.

Moore mentioned Monday night that if that sale were to fall through, the town may pursue its purchase again. She said the Recreation Commission and Paws Park of Greenfield may have to redirect its attention to that property, if that happens.

Until then, Moore said it looks like dog lovers would like to move ahead with plans for Green River Park.

“It appears to be the perfect location,” said Moore. “The town owns it and it’s larger than the 17,000 square feet required by the foundation we’re working with. That’s the area we’d like to focus on.”

Moore said she also plans to talk to the mayor about renovating the playground there, like the town did to Hillside and Beacon parks. She said the park could be configured so that the dog park would be immediately accessible from the parking lot, so they wouldn’t bother other park-goers.

“We could get a grant to redo the playground and basketball court and then work with the foundation to pay for the dog park,” said Moore. “It would be a great rehab project.”

Karen “Rudy” Renaud, chairwoman of the Community Relations Committee, said there will need to be more discussion after the mayor is informed of the commission’s choice. She said representatives from Paws Park did not attend Monday’s meeting because she gave them the wrong date.

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