Should Westford have a dog park? One woman believes it should and she’s bringing her case to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.
Kate Olson began a petition last week asking that Westford seek a new dog park and within hours she obtained 80 signatures.
The idea for her quest began to germinate last summer, when she began to see more and more “no dogs allowed” signs popping up in Forge Village where she felt safe walking her dog.
She’s trying to still walk her dog, but believes that action needs to be taken.
“If the town is going to prohibit dogs, there should be a space for dogs in the town,” she said.
Olson soon teamed up with Edie Fruscione, who has been working on a possible dog park behind the scenes for several months, largely for the same reasons.
In October, Fruscione sent out letters to 200 dog owners in town. She heard back from 20 and a Google Group was born. She later went to the Parks and Recreation Department and the momentum grew.
Right now, there isn’t an entirely suitable place nearby for Fruscione and her dog and everyplace she’s tried has either been unsafe or prohibited.
“I moved to Westford a year and a half ago and I was stunned with all of the land in this town that there wasn’t a place where my dog could run,” said Fruscione.
Right now, Olson brings her dog to Sabine Woods in Groton or Benson Park in Hudson, NH. Like Fruscione, she hopes that Westford can create something like those places: a no-frills, safe area where dog owners can bring their pets to run and socialize.
“I’m in a good neighborhood where I can walk my dog around, but it might not be there for everybody,” said Olson. “A dog park fosters good dog ownership and some people don’t have the time or luxury to give their dogs long walks and there are older and disabled people who can’t pound the pavement, so it’s good to have a designated safe place.”
The initiative is still in its infancy, but Olson said that $250,000 in grant funding from the Stanton Foundation may be available if the town can contribute land and limited infrastructure, such as fences and availability to water for things like water fountains.
More information on the group’s efforts can be found on their Facebook page.