East Windsor Dog Park is officially open
By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
East Windsor - posted Thu., May. 19, 2011
East Windsor now boasts the newest and greenest park designed and built specifically for dogs. The ribbon-cutting for the East Windsor Dog Park on Reservoir Avenue took place on Saturday, May 14, under bright, sunny skies.
The pet owners were clearly excited by the grand opening, but they were not nearly as happy as the canines themselves. The cavorting by canines of all colors created a moving canvas, set against the lush, green grass of the fenced-in areas. One area is reserved for large dogs, while another is devoted to smaller dogs.
"It's really neat," said Sharon Tripp, who was one of the organizers of the dog park campaign. "It was a lot of work and a lot of fun." Tripp was quite surprised at the turnout for the park's debut.
"The town was very supportive," Tripp said. "We didn't have half the issues the towns around us are having."
The Town of East Windsor gave the committee the land right away, without objection. "It was up to us to clear it and set it up," said Tripp. The group got several local businesses to donate services, leaving the dog park committee with only the cost of materials. They had to pay for the fence and the parking lot materials. Several farmers in town contributed the 60 bales of hay to cover the freshly-seeded area when the grass was planted last year.
The East Windsor Garden Club created the garden areas around the park's parking lot, and has pledged to maintain them.
The finished product is much more than Tripp expected. "I was thinking a piece of land with a fence around it," she said. "This turned out to be much more than that." Large dogs have almost a full acre of fresh green grass to scamper through. Small dogs can enjoy themselves in the adjacent fenced area of about one-quarter acre.
The dog park committee will be charged with maintaining the canine recreation area. In the years leading up to the park's grand opening, the group sponsored several fundraising events. The principal fundraiser is the annual Barktoberfest, held in the early fall at East Windsor Park.
"We have a small amount of money left, and we'll continue to raise more at the Barktoberfest," said Tripp of the maintenance plans. She said local resident Dick Sullivan - a recent retiree - has accepted responsibility for mowing the grass in the fenced-in area.
Owners are required to clean up after their pets, but bags are available at a convenient dispenser accessible from either area. The Town of East Windsor will pick up the trash. "We made that agreement at the beginning, because no one wanted to do it," Tripp said.
The area cleared and fenced in for the town’s dog population was a virtual forest of sumac. A crew of volunteers wielding chain saws buzzed through the dense growth, and more volunteers with tractors pulled out the leftover stumps.
Trip said that anything they could not get done by the May 14 opening date will be addressed in phase two of the park's development. She said that includes some benches and other amenities.