Members of the Warren Conservation Commission discussed their efforts to refocus on the Riverside Park management plan with town officials Tuesday night, including the possibility of imposing a dog ban on the town-owned land.
Mad River Path Association (MRPA) executive director Autumn Fourshee told the Warren Select Board members that the MRPA "is really tackling dogs, and one thing we're thinking is disallowing dogs at the park."
Fourshee said the discussion comes in part due to complaints from
abutting landowners about dogs coming onto private property and the
abundance of waste not properly disposed of.
In addition, Fourshee said the MRPA has been investigating the idea of creating a "leashless dog area" or dog park at the town-owned property near the Kingsbury bridge.
"Obviously we can't just disallow dogs," she said.
The town-owned parcel was selected in part, according to Fourshee, because the liability would be assumed by the town on their Vermont League of Cities and Towns insurance.
Select Board chair Andy Cunningham asked, "What does a dog park look like?"
Fourshee said that the park would look like whatever the town wanted it look like; typically, she said, they are fenced-in areas with posted signage detailing the rules of the park including proper dog waste disposal.
Select board member Matt Groom asked how the potential park would be funded.
"There could be grants. There a lot of enthusiastic dog people in The Valley that are willing to fund-raise," she said.
Select board member Kirsten Reilly said, "Riverside is a nice place to go with everybody, including dogs."
Cunningham questioned the appeal of a dog park: "I don't know if I'd ever be caught dead in a dog park. There's still got to be a reason to go there and I don't get it overall."
Conservation Commission member Margot Wade said they are just "looking for some guidance" from the select board as they refocus on updating the Riverside Park management plan.
Reilly suggested putting a questionnaire that addressing dog-related issues in the ballot on Town Meeting day.