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Originally posted at 12:05 p.m. Updated at 2:35 p.m. with cost figures.

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FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham Parks and Recreation Department is currently exploring options for a proposed dog park.

In 2015, the organization FramBark proposed the idea of a dog park, in the then-Town of Framingham.

As the Town, and now the City, was slowed to get on board with the proposal, the organization submitted a petition in 2020 to the City Council, to force the city to take action.

Parks & Recreation originally identified a location on Dudley Road, near Farm Pond Park.

But, the site is currently being used for construction and the construction project is targeted for a 2023 completion, explained Parks & Recreation Director James Snyder to the Parks & Recreation Commission last week.

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So, Parks and Recreation Department is proposing submitting another dog park location to the City for approval, and plans to return to Dudley Road when the project is completed if there is a desire for a second dog park, said Snyder.

At the Parks and Recreation Meeting, several options for alternative locations were proposed that included part of Cushing Park, Butterworth Park, and the open space near the aqueduct at the corner of Water and Brook Streets.

The number one choice for a dog park is the Temple Street Park.

The pros is that parking is available already and there is a decent amount of enclosed space.

Parks & Rec looked at facilities with 5 or more parking spots available and they said that they can “utilize 6 or 7 spots at Temple St.”

The Departments aid the Temple Street site “has much less site challenges” than others that they looked into.

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The major concerns brought up about the location involved the current playground present at the park, and the need to check to make sure that portable water is available, as per requirements needed to receive a dog park grant by the Stanton Foundation.

Frambark identified the Stanton Foundation grant, which would pay for 90% of the project costs.

The estimated cost for the dog park is $190,000. The City’s liability would be $19,000 under the 90% Stanton grant, explained Snyder.

The construction company working at Farm Pond has donated $15,000 gift toward the construction of a dog park, said Snyder.

Management issues that were brought up included a need for collaboration between the Parks Department and the Animal Control Officer, considerations of neighbors particularly involving noise, and the need for a community partnership to clean up and help maintain the park, said Snyder at the Parks & Recreation Commission meeting.

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The other possible locations were:

  • #2 choice) Brook & Water Street open space. This is land near the aqueduct. There is a lack of parking. City would need to work out something with the Methodist church for parking if that location was agreed on.
  • #3) Butterworth Park in District 7 – there were concerns about the multi-use of the park, including sports fields and a playground. And the Parks Department has developed a master plan and a dog park was not part of it.
  • #4) Cushing Memorial Park – A parcel of land near Harvey Cushing Way. Parking would be limited.
  • #5) Macomber Estates – It is on conservation land. Conservation Commission is against the proposal.

There are almost 4,500 licensed dogs in Framingham.

FramBark submitted 175 signatures to the City Council February 2020 requesting a Dog Park Commission be created.

The Dog Park Commission’s purpose would be to “identify suitable public property for a dog park, outline a masterplan for its implementation, including a detailed budget, and recommend policies and procedures for its operation,” stated the petition.

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If passed the Dog Park Commission would be seven members, including the chair of the Parks & Recreation Commission who would serve as the chair of the Dog Park Commission.

Other members would include President of FramBark (Stevens), Chair of the Framingham Conservation Commission, Chair of the City Council’s Economic Development subcommittee (District 4 Councilor Michael Cannon), the City Clerk, a dog owner appointed by City Council chair George P. King, and a Framingham veterinarian appointed by the Mayor.

In September 2015, Shannon Stevens formed FramBark to create a dog park in the Town of Framingham.

On March 31, she requested a 90-day delay of the Commission vote. The City Council voted 11-0 to discuss ate its June 16 meeting.

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