Borough ready to unleash dog park

Beau the dog, who belongs to Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess, lays outside this summer at the Naugatuck dog park on Andrew Mountain Road. The park will open to the public on Saturday. –RA ARCHIVE

Beau the dog, who belongs to Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess, lays outside this summer at the Naugatuck dog park on Andrew Mountain Road. The park will open to the public on Saturday. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — There will be no grand celebration, but come this weekend Naugatuck’s dog park will be officially open.

The borough will hold a brief opening ceremony for the dog park at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The approximately 3-acre fenced-in park where dogs can roam free is located on Andrew Mountain Road in what officials have dubbed Andrew Mountain Park. The park also includes a roughly 100-yard-by-50-yard fenced-in area for small dogs to play.

“The dog park is part of an effort to provide more and diverse activities in the borough. The Mayor has listened to the residents that feel there needs to be more to do. This is a low-cost, low-maintenance project that helps to meet that need,” Burgess Rocky Vitale, who chairs the Dog Park Committee, said.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the opening of the dog park is only a “soft opening” for the park. Hess said the driveway leading up to the park and the parking lot will be finished.

“The entire park is not completely done. Work will continue on the trails and the signage. There is no reason at this time that people shouldn’t enjoy the dog park,” Hess said.

Once the entirety of Andrew Mountain Park is finished it will include hiking trails, athletic fields, areas of open space, and a pavilion, in addition to the dog park, Hess said.

Hess expected to have a grand opening for the park in the spring.

“In the meantime we want people to use the dog park,” Hess said.

The majority of the work at the dog park consisted of installing the fence.

Assistant to the Director of Public Works Sandra Lucas-Ribeiro said the work was paid for from Local Capital Improvement Program money the borough had left over from other projects.

The borough also received an $80,000 grant in March from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to help pay for the work at the park, including the trails and the parking lot.

Officials have said state grant money will cover the costs of the dog park. An exact financial breakdown of the money spent on the park wasn’t available.

The park will be maintained by the public works employees and the Dog Park Committee, officials said.

Vitale said the committee is accepting donations and has raised about $5,000 thus far. The money raised will be used for amenities, including signage and waste stations. People who donates $100 or more will have their name place on a sponsor board at the park, he said.

Anyone who wants to donate can send checks to Borough of Naugatuck Attn: Dog Park Fund, 229 Church St., Naugatuck, CT 06770. People are asked to write “Dog Park” in the memo line. For more information, email Vitale at rockyv180@aol.com.

Once the park opens on Saturday, it will be open daily from morning until sunset.

The park will also have a list of rules posted, including dogs must be accompanied by their owners at all times, no glass containers are allowed, and each person is responsible to clean up after their dog.

Vitale said dog bags will not be available right away, so dog owners are responsible to bring their own bags.

“[The dog park] is a culmination of many years of work. Also the work of the Park Commission, the Parks and Recreation administration and the line employees that work so hard for all of us. We’re grateful for all of their support,” Vitale said.