Suffield pauses dog park project after neighbors raise objections – Journal Inquirer

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Following a number of comments from residents who live near Stony Brooke park who are not in favor of a proposal to build a dog park there, the Board of Selectmen voted Wednesday to table the plan.
Wednesday’s meeting was the second where the board discussed the park, but the first since abutting property owners were sent letters notifying them of the proposal.
Those owners showed up in force and were almost all in agreement that the town could benefit from a dog park but said there are better places it could be built.
First Selectman Colin Moll has proposed building the dog park in an open grassy area of Stony Brooke Park on Remington Street. The park would be fenced-in, with separate sections for small and large dogs. There is a small paved parking area, and additional vehicles would be allowed to park on the grass, he said.
Building the fence for the park has been estimated to cost about $60,000. USA Hauling and Recycling, the town’s trash contractor, has agreed to cover half of the cost, Moll said. He said he isn’t sure how long that offer will stand, which is part of the reason he wants to complete the project this year.
The town’s expenses for the project could be covered with leftover money from the Remington Street Bridge Project, Moll said.
Moll also has suggested that money from that account could be used to extend the sidewalk on Remington Street so it could connect with the new multi-use trail on Mountain Road, allowing people to stop at the park while walking with their dogs.
Moll said he isn’t the first person to think of the spot for a dog park, but he began considering the idea after spending more time in Stony Brooke recently and getting the feeling that it is used less often than the other town parks.
But that was one of the points that a number of residents mentioned as a draw for the people that do use it. They said it’s common now to see people using the grassy area for generally quiet activities, such as picnics, walking, sunbathing, and bird watching. A dog park would change that, they said.
Many of the residents said they also took the time to investigate other dog parks in nearby towns to see what they look like. In all of the cases, the parks were located in secluded areas or at the backs of multi-use parks, and out of sight of any residences. One man also pointed out that the field at Stony Brooke receives almost no shade, which is the opposite of what is recommended for dog parks.
On the legal side, a few residents brought up questions about whether a dog park would violate any of the specific conditions put in place when the property was given to the town.
After hearing all the comments the selectmen agreed that further exploration of the matter was needed. Selectman Peter Hill suggested the project may have to be put off until spring, as that would give the town time to talk with other towns about their own parks and give every resident a chance to comment.
For breaking news and happenings in North Central Connecticut, follow Matthew Knox on Twitter: @MatthewPKnoxJI, and Facebook: Matthew P. Knox JI.
Breaking News and Online Reporter
Matt covers breaking news and events for the JI’s online edition. Matt joined the JI in January 2016. He graduated from CCSU, and he enjoys classic cars, good music, reading, and playing basketball.
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