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Editorial: Dog park plans

Could the third time be the charm?

When it comes to an attempt to find a place for a dog park in Greenfield, one would like to think so.

The town has a location, the former Wedgewood Gardens mobile home park, and a way, a joint effort between the town and a volunteer organization that calls itself Paws Park of Greenfield Leadership Committee.

But what is missing is approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which helped the town buy the property and clear it of permanent structures after flooding destroyed many of residences there in October of 2005.

The hang-up is the concern by FEMA that the erection of fences on the property could serve to catch too much debris should the Green River flood again — as it surely will. Having a fenced-in area on the property is a crucial component to the plans for a dog park since the idea is to have a space where dogs could be turned loose to run and play without having any worry about the dog running off and somehow getting lost or hurt.

So far, the town has twice submitted fence plans for the property that FEMA has turned down. The Greenfield Recreation Department has sent a third proposal, and we certainly hope that it proves satisfactory.

“The problem with even temporary fencing is that it could be washed away during a flood and that would cause problems elsewhere,” said FEMA spokesman Richard Verville in a Recorder story this week.

We can’t see how this can be an insurmountable obstacle to getting a dog park at what is now known as Miller Meadow Park, even with floodplain laws. It undoubtedly involves determining a setback for a fence that would be acceptable in meeting FEMA’s guidelines and yet one that would allow the configuration for a dog park.

But should the third plan not get an OK with FEMA, perhaps the answer lies in a fence design along the lines of flood gates, ones that could be raised enough to allow the water to flow freely when necessary, or even strictly temporary ones that could easily be removed in flood season.

Again, we’ll keep our fingers crossed on this.

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