Officials sniffing out land for dog park

Naugatuck Burgess Rocky Vitale plays with his dog Tank. Vitale and others are working to construct a dog park a dog park in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE

Naugatuck Burgess Rocky Vitale plays with his dog Tank. Vitale and others are working to construct a dog park a dog park in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — He has the community interest, now all he needs is the land.

That’s the dilemma Burgess Rocky Vitale finds himself in with his plan to create a dog park in the borough.

“There are 1,000 registered dog owners in Naugatuck and many of them would love to see a dog park here,” he said.

Vitale and the Parks and Recreation Commission are actively seeking a suitable location for the park. The problem they have run into is finding a flat, borough-owned parcel that is big enough. Also, while many like the idea of a dog park, some don’t want it close to their homes.

One of the locations Vitale is considering is fairly far away from homes, and that is on town-owned land on Andrew Mountain. The borough purchased 146 acres on the mountain for $750,000 in 2012. Most of that land will be set aside as open space, but there is nothing restricting a dog park from being placed there.

Vitale has discussed a dog park here for about five years. Over that time, he has kept in touch with dozens of people over email and social media to keep them abreast of every turn of the screw in his quest.

Originally, Vitale said, he was told the borough’s insurance carrier would not like a dog park and might charge higher rates because of it.

However, Controller Bob Butler says the insurance provider does not have an issue with a dog park, as they have become rather common in communities.

There are several in Connecticut, including in Southbury, Southington and Cheshire; Cheshire just developed one recently.

“Dog parks are nice for dogs and dog owners because people are able to chat with each other like at any other park and they don’t have to leave their dogs at home,” Vitale said.

He said donations of about $30,000 would be necessary to fund the price of fencing for the park.

“We have people interested in helping, but the only problem we have is nobody wants to donate until we have a location,” he said. “So we hope it will happen soon.”

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