City leaders continue consideration of dog park
Board trying to find best location for canine play area
HUDSON — Whether a dog park will be set up in the city remains an open question.
On Monday, the park board deadlocked, 3-3, on a motion to drop Colony Park from consideration for the canine hangout.
Board member Frank Griffiths made the motion, and clarified he was not proposing that the board eliminate the idea of a dog park.
Griffiths made the motion after many residents who live in the neighborhood near Colony Park objected to installing a dog park in that location.
"I think the residents have been clear Colony Park is not the place for the dog park," Griffiths said.
Park board chairman Tom King said he felt residents in the Colony Park neighborhood were "owed clarity" on the issue.
With the tie vote on the motion, the dog park discussion will continue at the next board meeting on July 19, according to King.
After touring some parks in June 2020, park board member Linda O'Neil earlier this year said a committee decided the field at Colony Park "would be a prime location for the dog park."
Several residents who addressed the park board in April expressed concerns about speeding on Stoney Hill and Ogilby drives, as well as the lack of sidewalks along these roads. They were concerned about the safety of people walking to the park, as well as a potential increase in traffic volume in the area due to the dog park being stationed at Colony Park. Some were concerned about how the park would impact the health and safety of children, dog owners and the animals.
At Monday's meeting, O'Neil reviewed the feedback the park board had received about the dog park.
"It's clear that there's a desire [for a dog park], but the location seems to be of issue here," O'Neil said.
The park board has received written comments from 49 residents about the dog park.
Out of the 49 overall responses, 67% said they did not want the dog park put in at Colony Park, while 33% said they favored it.
Forty-three of the 49 respondents live in the Colony Park neighborhood, according to O'Neil. Of those 43 residents, 70% said they did not want the dog park at Colony Park, while 30% backed the idea.
Noting that many of the neighborhood residents cited traffic as a concern, O'Neil asked whether putting in sidewalks and monitoring speed limits would make residents "more amenable" to having a dog park at Colony Park.
While noting he felt traffic and speeding concerns should be addressed, Griffiths said he did not think that remedying those issues would be enough to allow a dog park to happen at Colony. He added there are multiple other reasons why residents do not want the dog park in that location.
Board member Shannon Navy said she felt traffic volume "would be an issue for anything that we put [at Colony Park]."
Board member Sean McGurr noted he and O'Neil examined some other potential locations for the dog park: Oak Grove, Barlow Farm and Hudson Springs.
It would take "a lot of work" to set up a dog park in between ball fields at Oak Grove, according to McGurr, who added the site does not have water, either.
Barlow Farm has water, parking and restrooms, but McGurr noted the board is already looking at building tennis courts on this site.
Hudson Springs Park's parking lot is already crowded and there is a longer walking distance from the lot to the field, according to McGurr.
Noting that a dog park was the number one unmet need that residents listed in a recent survey, McGurr said, "I'd hate to throw out the voices of 2,100 people [who said they wanted a dog park]. I do think it's something we should continue to look at."
However, he added the committee was "sort of at a loss" as to where the park could be set up.
"It just seems baffling that we can't find a location for it," board member Doug Colafella said.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.