A local park might, quite literally, go to the dogs, as the Danvers Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to support a citizen-led effort to develop a local dog park.
"I'm a strong supporter of this concept," said Selectman Bill Clark, recalling the intense debate and high emotions that occurred when Danvers enacted its leash law. "People are stymied in Danvers with a lack of a place to have dogs off leash."
The effort to develop a dog park -- a fenced area where dogs can run and play without a leash -- was spearheaded by resident Gail Tyrrell and friends, who approached Recreation Director Dave Mountain last winter. Eventually, a subcommittee formed to investigate the issue by looking at other towns' dog parks, examining potential locations for a park in town, and gauging community support.
Tyrrell and Mountain presented the results of this effort to the selectmen on Tuesday night.
The park will be an acre in size and contain three separate areas: a "bullpen" area, and separate grounds for big and little dogs. All will be surrounded by an 8-foot fence.
Based on a survey of available open, public land, the committee has selected three potential locations for the park:
- Their first preference is the abandoned lot at Sandy Beach, which contains nearby parking and bathrooms.
- The corner of Endicott Park accessed by Dean's Lane and currently used for excess parking during large events, was the second choice. The subcommittee suggested that it might be beneficial since the park is already popular with dog walkers.
- The third choice was a section of Proctor Farm.
Mountain told selectmen that the subcommittee had agreed to privately raise funds with the help of the Friends of Recreation to construct the park and to be in charge of its maintenance.
After asking a few questions about parking at the various potential sites, selectmen unanimously voiced approval for the concept of the park. Mountain said that the next steps would involve amending the town's leash law to include a provision for the park, selecting a site, and beginning to raise funds.
Tyrrell reported that informal surveys of the community indicated widespread support, estimating the 98% of the residents queried responded favorably.
"I was pleasantly surprised," Tyrrell said of the community's support. "We've got a large group of people very excited to get involved in the project."
For more information, as well as a gallery of some notable canines of Danvers, visit the Danvers Dog Park Web site.