PLAINVILLE – Nearly 40 residents spoke at the first public hearing for a proposed dog park on Norton Place Extension.
“I don’t think the town has exhausted all locations,” said Raymond Roux, during the Tuesday night hearing.
Roux and his wife Danielle have voiced their concerns about the location over the past year. The acre of proposed land is less than 200 feet from their house – located on the corner of Norton Place Extension and Robert Street Extension.
The neighborhood flooded in 2011 and most of the houses were purchased and demolished by the federal government. The area is isolated, but still considered residential.
“We want to be good neighbors,” said Dan Ciesielski, chair of the dog park committee.
He said there are a number of ways to buffer the park from the home, including sound barriers. He also suggested fines for owners that do not pick up after their dogs.
“It’s not the ideal place, it is close to the neighbors there” said Stan Bojanowski, committee member. “I do support it because there’s no other choice. If we had another choice, then sure.”
The committee previously looked at multiple parcels of land in town, including public parks. The police chief and animal control officer cited safety concerns and the parks were eliminated as options.
“The purpose is to allow dogs to recreate,” said Police Chief Matthew Catania on Wednesday. “There’s no reason to put it in a crowded existing park.”
Several people at the hearing spoke in favor of a town dog park in general. Amie Chasse, a resident of Broad Street, said the park will give people another reason to visit the town and socialize.
“It will bring people into the community,” she said.
A former resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Chasse said she visited many dog parks and never witnessed a dog fight.
Others in the audience were not as convinced.
“I’m a true dog advocate,” said resident Joe Bandzak. “This is a dog safety issue, this is not a location issue.”
He said dogs have been hurt and killed in dog parks around the country.
Arthur Screen, former resident of Robert Street Extension, echoed Bandzak’s concerns.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” he said citing Youtube videos of fatal dog fights in dog parks.
Catania responded to the safety concerns Wednesday.
“There will be rules and regulations,” he said. “We haven’t even scratched the surface.”
He said the park will be worked into the duties of the animal control officer, who will routinely inspect the park for compliance along with the police.
“It’s been my experience that most dog owners are good owners who want to protect their dogs,” Catania said. “There are inherent risks with everything.”
The council will vote on the location of a possible dog park at a later date. The committee will then begin fundraising for the estimated $22,340 price tag.