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Site selected for temporary dog park

Date: 4/17/2012

April 18, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

WESTFIELD — The city's proposed dog park may soon have a home, albeit a temporary one.

Ad Hoc Dog Park Committee Chair and Ward Six City Councilor Christopher Crean told Reminder Publications that his committee has identified a 10- to 15-acre parcel of city-owned land that has the potential to be developed into a dog park in the short term.

"It's off Union Street on Neck Road, where the water treatment plant is," Crean said of the proposed site. "There's some vacant land that needs some work, it needs some clearing."

He said members of the committee, which include representatives from the non-profit group Westfield Dog Bark Friends, visited the site prior to the committee's April 11 meeting, and agreed it could be suitable as a starter dog park site.

"The area does have some issues," Crean explained. "There is some flooding and a scent in the summer, but for temporary use it's going to be OK.

"We're looking at [the dog park project] as building a house; this is our foundation," he added.

Even a temporary dog park will be the culmination of more than two year's work by Edward Phillips, founder of Westfield Dog Park Friends.

Crean said his committee and Westfield Dog Bark Friends are currently seeking volunteer help to clear the site. A cost estimate for the park has yet to be determined.

According to Crean, the Westfield Dog Bark Friends — which is in the process of obtaining its non-profit status — plans to fund the majority of the park's cost and upkeep and has some upcoming fund-raisers planned, including a "Strut Your Stuff With Your Mutt" dog walk through downtown Westfield on May 12 beginning at 10 a.m. Complete details about the fund-raiser are available on the group's Facebook page,

Crean said his committee was also looking into obtaining some city funding — possibly Community Preservation Act money — to help with the initial costs of the park.

"We'll do what we can to help," he said.

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