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.