Paws Park picks up steam
GREENFIELD — A group like the one that organized to raise money to install a new playground on Beacon Field has formed, but this time to push for the town to build a dog park.
Greenfield resident Pam Kinsmith, whose dog was killed when it was hit by a car near Greenfield Community College last year, organized the group, which plans to find a good, safe spot for the park and raise enough money to erect a fence around it.
Kinsmith said Paws Park of Greenfield is currently more than a dream, and she hopes it will soon become a reality.
The group has several fundraisers planned and has been working with the mayor, the town’s director of planning and development, and the town’s recreation director, all of whom are on board and doing what they can to help, she said.
“There are a lot of dog owners in Greenfield and they want a safe place to let them run and play and be social,” she said. “The problem is, there aren’t many open spaces in Greenfield that aren’t wetlands or aren’t privately owned.”
According to town clerk records, there could be as many as 2,500 dogs living in Greenfield — about 1,500 of them are registered with the town. The rest are required by law to be registered.
Kinsmith said the group has looked at the former Wedgewood Gardens mobile home park, but because of restrictions put on the often flooded land by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State Emergency Management Agency, it probably won’t work. Kinsmith said the town wouldn’t be able to erect a chain-link fence there, because if the property ever flooded again, the fence would catch too much debris from the river.
“FEMA and MEMA want the water to be able to flow freely if that ever happens again,” said Kinsmith.
She said she will go before the town to ask about a surplus property it would like to sell on Stetson Drive.
“We’ll see what they have to say about that,” she said. “We dog owners feel a sense of urgency, because we don’t want what happened to my dog to happen again.”
Kinsmith said she stared a Facebook page for Paws Park and it “exploded overnight.” She said she had more than 100 likes in just a few hours.
“People are coming out to volunteer and we’d like to get even more,” she said.
Christy Moore, the town’s recreation director, said her department will help however it can, but does not have the budget to spend a lot of money.
Moore said she is currently waiting for estimates from L&L Fence Co. in Whately for what it would cost to erect fences that are not chain-link, and that might be allowed on the former Wedgewood Gardens property.
Director of Planning and Development Eric Twarog and Mayor William Martin said they will do what they can for the group, but don’t know what that might be right now.
Paws Park of Greenfield will hold a fundraiser at The Rendezvous on Third Street in Turners Falls on March 23 beginning at 7 p.m.
Kinsmith said it will be more of a “meet and greet” and there will be a raffle with a number of prizes, which will include Green River Festival tickets, ice cream, art, gift baskets, and more.
She said Urbio art gallery on Osgood Street will hold an art show benefit showcasing animal art on March 30 at 8 p.m., and a percentage of the proceeds from sales will go to Paws Park.