Dog Park Committee Mulls Need For New Site Search

The Londonderry Dog Park Committee may be looking for a new site for a proposed dog park.

The committee had previously settled on pursuit of a location near the soccer fields on West Road.

“Some issues came up,” committee chair Dottie Grover said last week. “Cindy (Eaton) and I were out to breakfast a few weeks ago on a Saturday morning and there was still all kinds of snow on the ground, so we thought we’d take a ride by and see what that place looks like in the winter. Well, you can’t get there in the winter.”

Grover also noted locked gates at both ends of the park.

“And there’s no plowing or anything in there,” she said. She talked with fellow member Scott Benson, who said winter access was a big issue.

“I was also concerned with the grade from the parking lot up to the proposed dog park site,” Grover said, noting that could raise ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility issues.

In an email response to Grover, Benson said he had spoken to Recreation Director Art Psaledas, who confirmed that the West Road fields are closed from November until the beginning of April.

“He would be willing to discuss keeping the fields open to accommodate the dog park, but we would need to discuss with him who secures the fields at night and who maintains them during the winter,” Benson’s email said.

“I think (securing the fields) is going to be an issue that’s going to be hard to get around,” Grover said, noting Psaledas also said there should be designated parking spaces. She said the committee had been told parking would not be an issue because spaces were already available, but Psaledas raised another concern – that dogs are not allowed on the town-owned property. Adding parking spaces at the other end of the area could resolve that, she said.

But plowing is yet another issue, and the committee doesn’t have the equipment to plow. She also raised the potential problem of acquiring enough volunteers.

“That’s a tough one right there – who’s going to unlock those gates every morning and lock them again every night. How you deal with that, I just don’t know,” Grover said.

Eaton said she didn’t think the committee was ready to accept the current proposed dog park location until it could meet with Psaledas. She said she had volunteered on playground committees and that the volunteers chose the land, raised money for materials, and volunteered the labor to build the playground, then donated the completed playground to the town, or in her case, the school district.

She suggested that might be a solution with the dog park.

Grover plans to set up a meeting for the committee with Psaledas.

But Eaton raised the issue underlying the concerns. “I think we should start looking at land again,” Eaton said.

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