Dog trail ribbon cutting set for Tuesday
By Gail Geraghty
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held next Tuesday, June 26, at noon at the Bob Dunning Memorial Bridge, marking the grand opening of the new dog trail at Pondicherry Park. Some of the strongest advocates for allowing dogs in the park, including Lega Medcalf, are expected to be on hand with their furry friends for a first ceremonial walk along the dog-friendly loop trail, if weather permits. Light refreshments will be served, and the public is invited.
Bridgton Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz, along with Selectmen Bernie King and Doug Taft, worked for months with the Loon Echo Land Trust and Lakes Environmental Association on fine-tuning the conservation easement that details the ownership transfer of the park from LELT to the town. LELT Executive Director Carrie Walia said outgoing Selectmen Chairman Art Triglione, as well as Selectmen Paul Hoyt and Woody Woodward, have also “all been very supportive during this year’s discussion with LELT and LEA, that has now come to a successful end. ”
The dog-friendly loop trail has been under construction for the past month. The loop trail that will allow dog walking extends from the Dunning Memorial Bridge, along the new trail that follows the northerly boundary of the park to South High Street, and back down to where it starts at the Dunning Memorial Bridge.
The dog use is a privilege, and park rules require that visitors with pets use a leash at all times and pick up pet waste, to ensure the use will continue into the future, Walia said.
A legal closing on the 65-acre park transfer is scheduled for Wednesday, June 27, at 2 p.m. at the Bridgton Municipal Complex, where the property deed will be granted from LELT to the town, and conservation easement will be reserved.
Shortly after the closing, a Pondicherry Park Stewardship Committee Agreement will be put into action. The town will seek candidates to fill the three vacant seats on the Stewardship Committee. Two additional seats will be filled by LELT and LEA. The committee will assist the Bridgton Public Works Department with the weekly and seasonal maintenance needs at the park.
The town’s Park Ordinance will determine such details as the hours of operation and how the public can hold educational and community events at the park. The conservation easement will forever protect the natural and recreational values.