After reading resident responses on Natick Patch and the Natick Patch Facebook page, the Open Space Advisory Committee held a formal meeting with about a dozen residents on Oct. 10 to discuss the possibility of bringing a dog park to town.
Residents Melissa Cusson and Sonja Vitow brought up the idea last month, which got the attention of Committee member David Coffee.
"I felt there was a pressing need for this," he said.
The Committee and residents, which included non-dog owner Patricia Maurico, discussed topics ranging from:
- Legal/environmental requirements;
- Funding – construction and maintenance;
- Possible locations.
Should a dog park ultimately come to Natick, it would be considered a passive recreation area, Vice Chair Michael Linehan.
A passive recreation area is generally an undeveloped space or environmentally sensitive area that requires minimal development. Entities such as a parks department may maintain passive recreation areas for the health and well-being of the public and for the preservation of wildlife and the environment. The quality of the environment and "naturalness" of an area is the the focus of the recreational experience in a passive recreation area.
"There have been complaints heard over years of people using soccer fields and find that dogs been there," resident and dog owner Cathy Collins said. "If you give people a place to go they will be happy to go there. Some will still (use other fields), but most will go to socialize their dogs. If we do something and do it right, it will solve a lot of people’s problems."
Maurico said she wanted to attend the meeting to better understand the need.
"I can appreciate how you all feel, which I didn’t understand before," she said. "What you have started to lay down makes good sense, but the big problem in where you put this is satisfying the people who abut this park. I didn’t see any glaring holes (in the discussion). It's been very informative."
Kessel brought up the idea of possibly an ad hoc group being created, which could report back to the Committee.
No decisions were made after what was about a 75-minute discussion.
"I think we made some progress," Kessel said. "There's a lot to be done and I hope it keeps going."