Town talks dog park

Residents in Milford want local play area for their pups

MILFORD – One of the great pleasures of owning a dog is watching the ani­mal’s pure joy in running without a leash.

Kierstyn Henderson loves to watch her 2-year-old Alaskan malamute, Kiesza, run free, and she wants that for the hun­dreds of other dogs in the Milford area.

The nearest public dog parks are in Hooksett and Hudson, each a 45-minute drive from Milford. So in April, Henderson and her fiance, Zachary William­son, started talking with the Milford Recreation Department about the possibility of creating a dog park.

"We really want a safe place for dogs to run and get rid of excess energy," Henderson said recently.

She is the chairwoman of a committee working with the Recreation De­partment. Within three or four years, the commit­tee hopes to raise enough money to build a fenced-in enclosure, at least 16,000 square feet, with a double-gated entrance and a sep­arate area for small dogs.

The Recreation Depart­ment’s first choice for a location is the far left cor­ner of Adams Park on Os­good Road.

Kaley Park is an alter­native, Henderson said. It’s more secluded and has plenty of space for parking.

The committee gave the Board of Selectmen a slide presentation in Oc­tober, showing photos of the Hooksett and Hudson parks, drawings of a pro­posed park and a list of park rules. All three com­panies that submitted es­timates offered around the same price of $18,500, she said. The goal is to raise at least $20,000.

Recreation Director Arene Berry told select­men that Adams Park is the best site.

"Once we have (sports) fields at Brox," she said, Adams can become a neighborhood park, with a playground, a picnic area, boat launch and bike path, "so the dog park fits perfectly into that neigh­borhood park idea."

The committee is a non­profit, and it has been raising money from the sale of plaques and raffle tickets and fundraising at local events.

Selectmen commended the group, but had ques­tions about sanitation, odor, parking and insur­ance. They talked about the dog park committee coming under the auspic­es of the Recreation Com­mission, similar to MICE (Milford ICE), the group that maintains the Shepa­rd Park winter ice rink.

Selectman Kevin Fed­erico called it a great idea.

"I like the fact that you’re fundraising for it," he said. "You guys have done great job putting a package together."

The committee had a booth at a Christmas fair, selling dog treats and baked goods.

"It was a great success," Henderson said. "Most people were happy to see our plans for the park, and we received a good amount of donations."

The group has an email address, barkforapark@ gmail.com, and a website, www.milfordnhdogpark. weebly.com. The Face­book group is called Sup­porters of a Milford, NH Dog Park.

According to Wikipedia, dog parks are the fastest-growing segment of city parks. There were 569 off-leash dog parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities in 2010, a 34 percent jump in five years, while overall, parks increased only 3 percent.

Portland, Ore., has the most, with 5.7 dog parks for every 100,000 resi­dents.