There are many dog owners in town who think Bauer Park is a great place to let their pooches run off leash. The owners might like it, and the dogs might like it, but it's not really allowed.
But town officials and volunteers are working to come up with a dog park where that will be allowed, right across Copse Road from the main part of Bauer Park, said Scot Erskine, director of the Madison Beach & Recreation Department.
Erskine, appearing before the town's Board of Selectmen during a meeting Monday night with Holly Johnson, vice chairman of the Bauer Park Committee, said that the area is now overgrown, but a group of volunteers intend to reclaim it and turn it into a dog park at no cost to the town.
The intention of the group is to raise money through donations and by seeking grants, he said. He said following the meeting that anyone who wants to get involved, and or provide donations, can contact him at 203.245.5623.
He told the board that there currently is a "dog problem" at Bauer Park, which includes about 64 acres of open fields, forest, and wetland on the west side of Copse Road, and about 24 acroes on the east side, north of Hunter's Trail.
"Many dog owners believe it's ok to let their dogs off leash there," he said. "But it's not." He said the recreation department is working to educate dog owners and, working with police, are also enforcing the prohibition against off-leash dogs there. So he said the recreation department is all in favor of a dog park.
He said the current plan is to separate the park into two areas, one area for small dogs, and one area for big dogs and small dogs who like to hang out with big dogs.
Not only will the park be good for the dogs, he said, it also will be good for the dog owners.
"It'll be a way for dog owners to socialize, and for the dogs to run free," he said.
The current plan, which is still being developed, calls for a chain link fence that will be about four to five feet high, he said.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted in favor of endorsing the creation of a park, to be located on the east side of Copse Road, to be developed without using town funds.
Following the meeting, he and Johnson said the ballpark estimate for the cost of such a park is $20,000 to $40,000. They said the range was so large because plans are still being developed. Now that the plan has the endorsement of the selectmen, they said, planning and fundraising can begin in earnest.
Erskine said the Beach & Recreation Commission also has endorsed the creation of a dog park on the east side of Copse Road at Bauer Park.