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Long-awaited dog park to open in Orange

ORANGE — It won’t be long now before one woman’s dream is realized and the dogs of Orange and the North Quabbin area have a safe, enclosed space to run and play.

The Friends of North Quabbin Dog Park will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at a piece of land on the Orange Airport,where the dogs will find their new stomping ground, maybe before fall, said Kathy Marble, organizer of the project.

Marble formed a committee in August 2010 to start looking at the options for a dog park. The committee held an informational meeting and handed out surveys, and after receiving a good response, decided to proceed.

At the time, Marble had three dogs. She said two were not socialized and one, her boxer, needed to run and play, but didn’t have space to do so. That was the reason she started the project, she said.

In May 2011, the committee received municipal approval to proceed with the project, which will be located on a corner of the land owned by Orange Airport.

The dog park, when completed, will be open to anyone to enjoy a safe place for dogs to romp, run and play with other dogs, said Marble.

The committee has raised about $10,000 by holding dinners, dances, raffles and dog walks since 2010.

It was going to cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to buy and install the fencing, but the Town of Athol donated 900 feet of fencing, and another 300 feet was donated by others, said Marble.

The committee hopes to get enough volunteers together on weekends in July, and August, if needed, so that it won’t cost anything for installation.

Marble said if that happens, the committee will use the $10,000 it has raised so far to buy waste stations, signs, play structures and shade structures.

Volunteers will maintain the park.

Marble said the park will be divided into three sections: one for small dogs, one for larger dogs, and one for training and agility.

She said if there is money left over — and the committee plans to keep raising money to maintain the park — it will eventually purchase agility equipment.

The park, which will have double-gated entries and 5-foot-high fencing, will be open during daylight hours.

Marble said people will be on the “honor system” when it comes to keeping their dogs vaccinated and spaying or neutering them.

“People who are responsible dog owners are the ones who will take the time to bring their dogs to the park, so I believe those dogs will also be up to date on everything,” said Marble.

She said she can’t wait to bring her boxer and new boxer puppy there to play.

“We could be up and running in six to eight weeks if all goes well,” said Marble.

For more information, visit: www.northquabbindogpark.com.

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