By Sue Ellen Woodcock
It’s been months in the making, but finally a site for a dog park has been targeted on the Winthrop/Revere line. While it still needs approval from Town officials, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has given approval to use the land.
Located right off the Kilmartin Walkway off Winthrop Parkway and the pump stations off Revere Street, the dog park is 110 feet long by 30 feet wide, with chain-link fence, pea stone on the ground, two small covered areas and space for large and small dogs.
Councilor Nick DelVento, of the DPW Subcommittee, said the committee looked at many locations around Winthrop. Also on the subcommittee are councilors Paul Varone and Rich Boyajian. A dog park committee formed a few months ago after inquiries from dog owners. It looked at Veterans Road, Coughlin Park, Ingleside Park, the Town tree farm, Pico Park, Morton Street, Hannaford Park, and Pond Street.
The Town will have to go before the Conservation Commission for permits because it is in a wetlands area. DPW head Steve Calla said some grading would have to be done in the area. His crews also would run a water supply to the park from the pump station. There is also a small parking lot owned by the DCR that can be utilized by dog park users.
As for policing the property, officials are hoping that dog owners will police themselves and the animal control officer can help out.
Town Manager James McKenna said the DCR commissioner liked the idea for the use of the land and already has a dedicated staff in the area.
“It’s a common sense use of the property. It’s the most feasible with the least impact,” McKenna said, adding that in other communities, two DCR properties are used as dog parks. “As long as we are responsible stewards we can take this on as a new town park.”
The town still has to look at the hours of operation. Most agreed that there should be no activity after dusk.
Gail Miller, of the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, had some concerns. One was the lack of DCR enforcement regarding dogs now. A couple of people shared stories of running into people walking their dogs off-leash.
“People let their dog run loose while they sit in the car,” Miller said, noting she was shocked DCR will allow this use. “It is a wildlife reservation.”
“The best police are dog owners. It’s incredible how well self-policing can work,” McKenna said.
“It will be a DCR property with Winthrop overseeing it,” DelVento said, adding that now the state police and DCR rangers police the area.
Officials said the goal is to start the project in six months.