Enfield Dog Park Planner Meets With Town Enfield

Monday, December 23, 2013
Enfield — The organizer pushing for a new dog park in town said she’s had positive meetings with the Selectboard and Planning Board and that the group is moving forward with a proposal for a space on Route 4A.

Marcia Herrin, a dog-owner from Enfield Center, said that her group is trying to get approval from the state to have a new driveway built at the 15-acre lot bordering Sloan Road and Bradford Drive.

The driveway would allow them to build a new parking area on the far end of the lot, opposite from where a parking lot is currently used for sporting events.

“Our concept is to have the dog park at the far end so that there’s lots of empty space in between, because this is two different kinds of uses, and the current parking lot is heavily used (by sports teams),” she said.

Selectboard Chairman John W. Kluge said he found Herrin’s presentation to be “very interesting” and felt that she and her group had tried to “balance” some anticipated concerns, such as the parking issue.

“I know that’s probably going to be a push back for some people who feel that it (should) be more geared toward people,” Kluge said. “I think one thing we did say was that they ought to touch base with the abutters, because I think they haven’t really done that very fully yet.”

Herrin has been working with a Lebanon resident, Larissa Pyer, to build a fenced-in dog park in the Lebanon area. Both women have been working with their respective municipalities to see which one has the best prospects for allowing the park to be built.

The Upper Valley’s only dog park, Watson Dog Park, is in Hartford Village.

Pyer has a meeting scheduled this week with Lebanon Recreation and Parks Director Paul Coats to discuss the best ways to move forward with the Lebanon proposals, Herrin said.

“It would be beyond our wildest dreams if we got a go-ahead from both towns, but if that happened we’d have to figure out what to do about it,” Herrin said. “That’s a sweet dilemma.”

Herrin said she received positive feedback — but, as of yet, no official approval — from the Enfield boards during visits to their meetings earlier this month.

Those meetings followed public forums in Enfield and Lebanon, where abutters who prefer the Lebanon property expressed concern about traffic conditions on Route 4 and whether a dog park was the right fit for the neighborhood.

The proposal is to sign a short-term lease agreement with either town and to build the dog park — which, for parking and fencing, carries an estimated $50,000 price tag — with private donations.

Herrin said her next steps are to reach out to the abutters of the Enfield site with a letter that she said is currently being revised by the town manager. She’s also in the process of seeking nonprofit status for her group so that it can accept donations.

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.