A prepared group of Sprague Elementary School Girl Scouts from Troop 66063 made a pitch to the Natural Resources Commission in September for a dedicated dog park to be established in Wellesley by the summer of 2021. The girls, who noted their troop has raised funds in the past for causes that support animals, embarked on this particular project to earn their Girl Scouts Bronze Awards.
You can view their presentation below via the Wellesley Public Media video, beginning about 3 minutes into the meeting.
While the girls didn’t get into specifics on where the park might be located, they did cite dog parks in Needham and surrounding communities that could be looked at as models. Their research, which involved interviewing the likes of State Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch and Wellesley Animal Control Officer Sue Webb, produced information on possible funding sources and design criteria. One idea raised was to tack a fee onto dog licenses for those who would want access to such a park.
The girls also raised the possibility in their presentation of promoting their efforts through a couple of local newspapers we weren’t familiar with. But we figured we’d give the scouts a plug given the work they put into this.
There are more than 2,700 licensed dogs in Wellesley, many of whose owners do allow them to roam free in town parks regardless of rules. Perrin Park and Centennial Reservation are among the Wellesley spots that have become de facto dog parks, with Perrin Park having the most specific rules. Wellesley College allows dogs on its campus, but has attempted to crack down on nuisance dogs (or owners) on the Lake Waban path.
As far as we’ve been able to learn, Wellesley has never had a dedicated dog park. The concept has been discussed by the NRC, “but never really materialized, primarily because siting these is often contentious. There is also the question about expense and maintenance requirements and cost,” says NRC Director Brandon Schmitt.
Given that most parks in town already allow dogs off-leash if under voice command, there are lots of opportunities for dogs and their owners to enjoy open space in Wellesley without a dedicated park, he adds.
“While a dedicated dog park is not one of the NRC’s current priorities, the Commission is open to any proposal that would help promote stewardship or appreciation of the parks,” Schmitt says.