BURRILLVILLE – Town Manager Michael Wood announced this week that an effort to establish a dog park on Clear River Drive has hit some road blocks, and that the town may want to abandon the project and find a new location.
The facility was slated to be built just south of the town’s animal shelter and water treatment plant, and include separate areas for large and small dogs, a walking path and space for 24 cars.
The town received a $100,000 open space recreation grant, slated to finance the park, in early 2018, and construction was initially expected to begin last fall. Providence-based engineering firm CDR MacGuire Inc. showed the park taking up less than 1/4 of the 44 acre lot, and a six-foot-high chain link fence was planned to surround the dog area.
But Wood said this week that the presence of wetlands on the property, and involvement from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, has complicated construction.
“The project is no longer what we thought it would be,” said Wood. “It’s been compromised.”
Wood noted that the walking trail would cost “a lot” of extra money to avoid wetlands according to RIDEM’s proposal.
“They’re also shrinking your recreation area,” Wood said, noting that the two dog areas would be 20 percent smaller under the new plan.
The town manager has suggested that officials might want to come up with a different location – or trash the plan completely – pointing out that dog parks have been closing recently over concerns about the canine parvovirus.
One such park in Warwick reopened today, Thursday, Sept. 26, after a roughly two-week shutdown.
If the park isn’t built, Wood noted that the town will have to return the grant funding.
“We might have a better shot at some of the other grants if we turn this back,” he said. “If you want to shrink it down, and have just a dog pen, we can do that.”
The Town Council is expected to take up the issue at a future meeting.