Dogs beggin’ for park to call their own

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — In the future, local dogs might be begging their owners to take them to the park.

With summertime restrictions at the town beach and other public waterfront areas, members of the Naples Property Planning Committee have been tossing around the concept of creating a community dog park where the transfer station site once existed.

The idea of a dog park stemmed from the issue of people walking their canines on the Naples Town Beach, but ignoring the responsibility of cleaning up after their dogs, Selectman Rick Paraschak told the Board of Selectmen on Monday.

After last summer’s E. coli outbreaks in the water at many popular beaches such as Raymond Town Beach and Crystal Lake Beach in Harrison, officials in Naples had posted “No dogs” signs at the public beach. Recently, some residents have been talking about providing another venue for dog walking — especially if the town adopts a no-dogs ordinance.

Currently, the location being eyed is town-owned property off State Park Road, said Paraschak, who serves on the Naples Property Planning Committee. Selectman Robert Caron Sr. also sits on that committee.

The private road, Springer Street, gains access to the parcel — which was once the town’s transfer station site, according to Town Manager Derik Goodine. The spot was also a gravel pit at one time, he said.

“It’s overgrown with trees now,” Goodine said. If plans to transform the site into a dog park move forward, tree clearing would need to be done, and a fence would need to be erected, he said.

According to Animal Control Officer Bobby Silcott, who is scheduled to meet with the committee on Wednesday, the plan is in “the very, very preliminary stages.”

“What is going to help this is: If they are going to create an ordinance to restrict where dogs can go, they should create an alternative place for folks to go with their dogs,” Silcott said.

“I am going to spearhead this thing once I get the blessing of the committee. I will surround myself with pet lovers and businesses that support animals; and those people will help make this project a reality,” he said.

“I think a nice community dog park would be something that would pull people from a fair distance just to bring their dogs to,” Silcott said.

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