|Pittsfield Community Members Celebrate the Dog Park's Anniversary |
|By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff|
04:49AM / Thursday, September 22, 2022
|The Pittsfield Dog Park celebrates one year of being open. The park is so popular the city has agreed to keep it open during the winter.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass — Dog enthusiasts, volunteers, and Parks and Recreation employees gathered at the Pittsfield Dog Park on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate it being open for one year.
Dogs play off leash in the gated area.
The dog park ensures dogs can exercise and socialize safely. The gated area has two sections: one side is for dogs that weigh less than 30 pounds and the other is for large dogs.
The fenced area for off-leash dogs features a grassy layout for pooches to roam, a walking path, benches, complimentary waste bags, and even a dog-sized water fountain.
Over the past year, the park has grown in popularity with many visitors praising it and expressing their joy in having a space where they and their dogs can socialize.
"As a dog owner and dog lover myself, it's very important that these dogs get out and exercise and socialize because socialization skills just as humans are very important. It's very important for them to get along and get out and exercise and be healthy," Recreation and Special Event Coordinator Becky Manship said.
"And it also helps the dog owner socialize and make networks and ask questions and have some conversations that they may not have had otherwise."
The park has become so popular that the Parks and Recreation Department decided that it would keep the park open in the winter after receiving requests to do so from the public.
During the winter, Friends of the Park volunteers will shovel the pathways and continue to maintain the park.
"I've always wanted to have a place here in Pittsfield, people can bring a dog and lift them off leash, and so when this came about, I was eager to volunteer and wanted to be part of this project," Friends of the Dog Park Chair and volunteer Jeff Demary said.
"And we keep it open all winter now, hopefully, that's going to happen again this winter. But originally, they were going to close it in the winter. But we had so many people using it all seasons that we just kept the gates open and people continue to use it."
The volunteers are a crucial part of the park and it would not be open without them, Manship said.
"We couldn't have been able to keep this open without the help of our volunteers like Jeff and many others," Manship said
"So having the volunteers is critical and crucial and very important. And we thank our volunteers so much for all of their help because we can't do it alone. So the community has definitely rallied in that sense too."
The dog park is still looking for more volunteers to help with maintenance and operations.
"We're moving into year two, we're trying to streamline our maintenance and our operations of the dog park. We want to make certain that the community is well aware of what's happening here," Parks and Open Space Program Manager James McGrath said.
"And certainly with Jeff's help, as part of the Friends of the Pittsfield Dog Park, we're trying to get more folks involved. ... who feel an affinity for this place and a desire to give back. So, I think with Jeff's help and support, and with all the other volunteer support, we'll continue to see success appear at the Pittsfield Dog Park."
The Parks and Recreation Department will be able to continue to make improvements to the park due to the support they receive from the Stanton Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Boston interested in animal welfare and has been funding dog parks across the country.
"With the Stanton Foundation's support, we are eligible for small capital improvement grants for three years after we open the dog park. So as of today, being open a full year, we are eligible for the first piece," Manship said.
Through this grant the park will receive $8,000 a year for the first three years it is open. This year the primary concern will be fence work.