Since opening with great fanfare and lots of�exuberant barking on June 21, 2016, the Chelmsford Dog Park has realized much of its founders’ hopes.
Dogs of every size, breed and temperament revel in frolicking, running, playing and just the joyful experience of being a dog.
Their human counterparts can meet, chat, talk about all matters of canine care, and�spend time�with their faithful, four-footed friends.
But with the celebrations receding into the past, the dog park is facing challenges it needs users’ help to meet.
Some are posed by the forces of nature — such as snow and rain causing muddy conditions.
That may inevitable here in New England. But, the people who visit�the dog park need to step up, and play their part.
The dog park experienced a setback last year, when soil began to erode. A grass-planting effort did not work out as hoped — perhaps due to a failure of best practices including letting grass grow properly before cutting.
The Chelmsford Dog Association, the nonprofit, volunteer group that oversees the park, is working to correct these problems. But their efforts will come to little without the support.
According to Animal Control Officer Erik Merrill, a member of the town’s Dog Park Advisory Committee, a misconception persists that the town funds the dog park needs.
It doesn’t. It provided the land, and Town Meeting authorized a Community Preservation Act grant. But beyond that, donations provide all that the dog park needs, from electricity to trash barrels.
Volunteer time, effort and hard work keep the dog park functioning.
Anyone who uses the dog park needs to think of themselves as�a stakeholder as well as consumer. This means observing all the rules, which evidently, not everyone does.
It’s hard to think a responsible dog owner really needs to be told to clean up after a pet’s waste.
But this is a problem that could threaten the park itself,�if such lax and inconsiderate behavior poses a problem for the water district.
Beyond rules and courtesy, it’s time to think about how to contribute. Donations certainly help, and pitching in with maintenance activities and fundraising efforts do as well.
The Chelmsford Dog Association will aid anyone who wants to help, in finding a way. Check out the association’s website to learn more at chelmsforddogassociation.org.
Email Margaret Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.