Naugatuck official, push for dog park could cost $35,000

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NAUGATUCK — A dog park could cost the borough a little more than $35,000, according to a preliminary cost estimate presented recently to the Park Commission.

The commission had asked Rocky Vitale, a Board of Education member who leads a grassroots effort to create the park, to present the estimate. Vitale proposed a 2-acre fenced-in open space where dogs can run around without a leash, with a separate 60-by 80-foot area for small or timid dogs and a small gravel parking area.

Further down the line, Vitale said, he hopes scout troops or high school shop classes will create ramps and structures for dogs to play on. The Parks and Recreation department could donate old picnic tables and the park could become a place for dog shows, training sessions and veterinary consults, Vitale said.

The borough could apply for state or federal grants to pay for the cost of a 6-foot chain-link fence and two double-wide access gates for dogs, owners and maintenance equipment, Vitale said. Based on standard materials costs, Vitale predicted the fencing alone would cost $20,548.

“I know the state is broke and the feds are broke, but there’s always money set aside for this type of thing,” Vitale said.

A subcommittee consisting of commissioners, residents and Public Works Superintendent Robert Roland was charged with recommending possible sites for the park, but the onset of winter and the snow that blankets the borough’s open spaces has delayed that process, commission members said.

“This stuff takes time, especially when you’re dealing with taxpayers’ money and taxpayers’ property,” Pat Wagner, the commission chairman, said. “It’s a lengthy process. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

Without a definite site for the park, the estimate is not completely reliable, Vitale said. Depending on the park’s location, the two major costs — fencing and excavation — could change.

“It’s just not possible to do it unless we know the topography and where it’s going to be,” Vitale said.

The borough does not allow dogs off leashes anywhere, so the Board of Mayor and Burgesses would have to modify the municipal code to allow for the park.

Some burgesses had expressed concerns about liability issues at a dog park, which Mayor Robert A. Mezzo said could be a concern, along with funding.

“It’s competing with multiple priories in a time of economic uncertainty and limited resources,” Mezzo said.