Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Dog Park Updates

Two Blairstown residents came before the Blairstown Township Committee, March 9th, to ask questions and express their concerns regarding the local dog park, which recently came under the township’s control.

Lisa Stanpone spoke candidly to the committee, “I have heard so many rumors and so many different things about this dog park and I figured I would come to find out for myself. What’s going on with it?”

Blairstown residents can now access the park for free. In the past when the dog park was owned by a private LLC, fees were implemented to provide insurance. Operating under the township committee’s recreation department, insurance is covered, with no fee required.

For security purposes, Mayor Rob Moorhead previously divulged plans for an electronic lock that Blairstown dog owners could open using an app on their phone. This app would require users to show proof of licensure and rabies vaccination. Out-of-towners would need to visit Town Hall for use approval.

This idea has been scrapped due to the possibility the lock would be stolen or frequently left unlocked. Instead, the township will draft a dog park ordinance that according to Moorhead, “will allow us to better control the use of the park.”

The new plan is for the ordinance and its details to be posted at the dog park. Those visiting from out of town will need to visit Town Hall to be granted access.

Stanpone wondered how the township would be able to regulate whether users have registered with the town and if their pet is properly licensed and vaccinated.

Moorhead explained, “In the past, our animal control officer kind of looked the other way because it was being run by another private entity. So he’s really going to take it under his wing. We’re kind of playing it by ear.”

Deputy Mayor Walter Orcutt added, “And we only kind of expect users …] to help police it a little bit. It’s gonna be open for the next couple of months until we get the ordinance tightened up.”

At the BTC meeting held on Jan. 12 the committee introduced the idea of creating a small dog park on Main Street to give these pets some space and prevent droppings being left on the sidewalks and road.

This pocket park would be in addition to the dog park located at Sycamore Park. There have been no plans to remove the Sycamore dog park.

Blairstown resident Gina Trish was skeptical of a pocket park. “I just want to express that the children who live in town use that park so if it’s going to be firstly dedicated to dogs, then the kids wouldn’t really have anywhere to play in town… In all sincerity, when kids don’t have a place to play, that’s when they get into trouble.”

Stanpone, who like Trish, lives on Main Street, agreed, “These kids need a place, too. And we already have a big nice dog park.”

In response Moorhead said, “Well, those are exactly the comments that we need to hear. Nothing is set in stone, we were just tossing that idea around and I’m glad you came to talk about it.”

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