City officials will soon meet with neighborhood residents to explain what options would be legally permissible and physically possible regarding the potential creation of a dog park in West Roxbury.
District 6 City Councilor Matt O’Malley called the upcoming meeting “pivotal” to determining how his recently introduced proposal to create a fenced-in dog park moves forward.
Boston’s parks and recreation commissioner and a representative from the city’s public works and another from the city’s animal control department will attend the third meeting O’Malley has held on the topic. At the forum, set for Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Roche Community Center, those city officials will explain and field questions regarding the legal and physically-possible options for a West Roxbury dog park.
“This is an important meeting and a chance to get all questions answered before moving forward,” the councilor said by phone Friday.
The city has strict legal guidelines regarding dog park creation. Also, building a dog park at Millennium Park, a 100-acre site that has received nearly all of the focus so far in the neighborhood’s dog park debate, could raise further legal complications because the park was formerly a landfill and includes areas that have not been “capped.”
No clear consensus has been reached so far at meetings held with residents to discuss the dog park idea the councilor put forward earlier this summer.
Some residents have voiced support for creating a fenced-in dog park at Millennium Park. Meanwhile others would prefer to leave the park as-is.
At the first, standing-room-only meeting in August, controversy rose about whether creating a designated area for dogs to run off-leash might lead to a crackdown on leash law enforcement at Millennium Park, which O’Malley has said would be an “ideal location.”
City regulations, adopted on a municipality-by-municipality basis according to a state law, require a dog to be leashed at all times whenever the four-legged pet is not on their owner’s property. The city says the laws are “intended to protect people from free roaming dogs.”
Last fall, an encounter between an unleashed dog and a trainer at the park revived talks about turning part of the space into a dog park.
O’Malley also hopes to eventually form a friends group to help plan out, and later manage possible, the proposed dog park space. Because some of the unforeseen debate about the dog park idea has caused talks to move at a slower pace than originally planned, previously-scheduled elections of officers to lead the friends group have been postponed. Friends group officers may be elected at the Oct. 24 meeting, O’Malley said.
The councilor has established a Facebook page and Twitter account that can be used as another forum for discussion and will be updated with news related to discussions of a potential dog park in the neighborhood.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at firstname.lastname@example.org.