Land behind Brookstone Manor eyed for dog park

MILFORD – Land near the Souhegan River and behind Brookstone Manor on Elm Street is being eyed for a dog park.

Members of the Milford Dog Park Association meet with town staff recently to talk about location options, which have been narrowed down to three, including undeveloped land behind the apartment complex.

Owners of the rental complex are interested in the plan, Town Administrator Mark Bender told selectmen last week as they met with association members and town officials.

The property is flat and wooded and has access to 127 Elm St., the town-owned tract that will expand Keyes Park.

The six acres is the rear section of the 12 acres behind the apartments. They have access to water and ample parking at 127 Elm, community development director Lincoln Daley told the board.

“We had very positive talks with the owner,” Daley said, and Kierstyn Williamson, of the dog park association, said Brookstone is their top choice.

Putting a conservation easement on the property would probably be the best option, Bender said, because of zoning restrictions, and the public-private partnership would mean a modest tax break for the apartment owner.

The other locations in the top three are town-owned land between the Souhegan River and Souhegan Street and town-owned property off Perry Road. But Perry Road is considered remote and very vehicle-dependent.

Ten sites were considered in all, based on their proximity to businesses, residential neighborhoods and town facilities and their access to downtown parking.

Selectmen seemed to like the Brookstone Manor location. To concerns about an influx of dogs, Recreation Director Arene Berry said “dogs are already down there all day.”

The nonprofit Milford Dog Park Association says it needs three-quarters of an acre and is raising money for the fencing and other expenses amounting to about $20,000.

Board Chairman Kevin Federico said the next step is to evaluate how suitable the property would be for a dog park and the associated costs to answer that question.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

COMMENTS