NORTHBOROUGH – Plans to build a dog park in Northborough were approved by the Planning Board on Dec. 5.
The approval marks the culmination of years of effort to bring a dog park to town.
“It is very exciting that, after 19 years of advocacy, this dog park is finally becoming a reality for the region’s dogs and their people,” Planning Director Laurie Connors told the Community Advocate.
What is proposed
The dog park will be located on a parcel owned by the town on Boundary Street.
In 2022, Town Meeting approved Community Preservation funds to complete a feasibility study for a dog park, including studying up to five potential locations for the park. That October, town staff presented four potential sites for a dog park.
Last December, the Select Board selected the Boundary Street site as the location of the first off-leash dog park.
According to Department of Public Works Director Scott Charpentier, the plans call for a dog park with small and large dog areas. The small and large dog areas will be separated by a fence and will be surfaced with stone dust pavement and be Americans With Disabilities Act-accessible. Between the small and large dog areas there will be a shade shelter with benches.
The southern end of the parcel is intended to be a dog run area, according to Weston & Sampson’s Johnathan Law. The dog run area will include mulch and an existing tree canopy. It will also include a double-gate to connect the dog run to nearby trails.
The park will not have any lights. It will be open from dawn to dusk and year-round.
The town is also proposing to construct a paved parking lot with 10 parking spaces along with an overflow area.
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Following a question by Planning Board member Millie Milton about the total cost of the project, Charpentier said the construction cost estimate hasn’t been updated yet as they were waiting on incorporating comments from the Conservation Commission and the Planning Board.
However, the latest cost estimate was between $550,000 and $575,000. The town is seeking a grant from the Stanton Foundation for $250,000.
During the meeting, Connors said she was “fairly confident” that Northborough will get the grant as she has been in contact with the foundation throughout the process and incorporated their suggested modifications. Plus, the town had received a grant from the foundation for the design of the park.
“Typically, when you’re awarded a design grant that means you’re going to get a construction grant,” she said.
Northborough resident Lauren Bailey-Jones said that Northborough Unleashed has been working to support the dog park for the past few years.
“We really like the plans that were presented this evening,” she said. “We’re in support of the dog park, and we really appreciate the Planning Board tonight and all of your consideration.”
Next steps for Northborough’s dog park
The goal, according to Charpentier, is for the project to make its way through the land permitting process. The project will return before the Conservation Commission on Jan. 8.
Once the town receives approvals and conditions for the projects, they will be incorporated into a construction bid set. Charpentier said after the town hopefully received approval from the Stanton Foundation, the project would go out to bid.
Northborough staff hope construction may begin in April, depending on the weather, and the park would be open to the public in the fall.