The Waterbury Unleashed Dog Park remains closed, but officials who oversee the popular spot for local canines and their humans are making a plan for when it will reopen.
At its meeting Wednesday, May 13, the Edward Farrer Utility District Board of Commissioners agreed that town manager Bill Shepeluk would decide when the dog park could reopen with regard to the COVID-19 virus public health precautions.
Oversight of the dog park located behind the Ice Center rink on River Road is a role of the utility district, which was created in 2018 when the village municipality dissolved. Village-owned properties were turned over to the utility district, which agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the dog park committee called Waterbury Unleashed.
The park, along with other parks and recreation facilities, has been closed to the public this spring due to state public health orders to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The park was created in 2015 when the Waterbury trustees approved the old dump site behind the Ice Center as the site. That spring and summer dog-loving volunteers cleared rubble and brush from the site and did fundraising to pay for fencing, a sun shade structure, chairs, a tool shed and a mower. The park opened in August 2015.
Since then, the park has become a popular meeting place for local and neighboring furry friends and their two-legged companions. As many from the original group of organizers have stepped back, a small crew of volunteers has been tending to the park’s maintenance for the past two years.
Part of the Waterbury Unleashed committee’s responsibility is to have two volunteer day-to-day managers oversee the park and to adhere to the agreement with the utility district.
Two new volunteers have stepped forward to take on those roles, Abby Teel and Ashley Kiel. They will need several regular dog park users to help maintain the park once it reopens for the season.
Anne M. Imhoff is a founding member of Waterbury Unleashed. Reprinted courtesy of WaterburyRoundabout.org.