Use former landfill for dog park

To the Editor:

Having worked some seven years ago to have an ordinance written by Councilman Forrester and co-sponsored by Councilman Julian that passed unanimously for a dog park in Stratford, I have seen the joy of that moment end in frustration.

The group I had helped found at that time, The Friends of the Stratford Dog Park, as well as the current organization, The Stratford Dog Park Association, have faced the issue of location and a not-in-my-backyard attitude from every potential neighbor.

Suggestions of carving out space in already established open land areas like Roosevelt Forrest, Short Beach or Longbrook Park were met with resistance from the commissions that oversee these areas.

Residential neighborhoods were opposed to any location that borders their homes and streets. Even this latest effort, to buy open space from the state, appears to have its glitches.

I would like to suggest one last location that may work for everyone: The former landfill at the end of Short Beach Road.

This property is already owned by the town, and has only town property around it, so it does not impact any neighborhoods. It also has a large border, so the park located near the top there would be a natural buffer for anyone utilizing the golf course or Short Beach. While it was a landfill, it was capped with clean fill. Since this would be open land that only would have grass growing on it, there would be no digging into the footprint, so no exposure would occur.

This would also save a significant amount of the funds raised, since the land is town property and no purchase would be necessary.

As to access, a gated road already exists off of Short Beach Road, but with the moving of Main Street, access to this proposed site could come off of Dorne Drive, even allowing for some control via the gated entrance to Short Beach that already exists there.

Utilities are close by, so water for dog fountains could be supplied, and there is even enough room to have a ‘little’ dog park next to it where dogs that are under 30 lbs. can also play and exercise without concerns of being overwhelmed by the bigger breeds. (Think Kiddies’ pool!)

I hope that the mayor, members of the Town Council, and The Dog Park Association look seriously at this option, which I don’t think has any down sides.

John Rich

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