The Amherst Dog Park had a groundbreaking ceremony today. Members of the Dog Park Task Force, CPA Committee, Town Councilors and Town staff were on hand to make remarks and break ground at the South landfill site where the 2.5 acre park will sit. With more than 1,600 licensed dogs in Amherst, community members have long advocated for a dog park, citing a need for a safe, well-designed place for dogs to exercise off leash.
While many sites were studied over the past few years, the South landfill site was ultimately selected because the Town already owned the land, there is easy access off of Route 9 and also convenient to access from town. The site was the unanimous choice of the Dog Park Task Force members.
The Task Force considered many design features but mostly wanted to keep the park simple, functional and easy to maintain over time. The park will provide areas for both large and small dogs, shade for users and their pets and access to water stations. The park will also be ADA compliant.
While the dog park will take up roughly 2.5 acres, most of the South landfill site will be set aside though a Conservation Restriction. Access to the Robert Frost trail and sledding hill will be retained. A perimeter walking path is also planned.
The Town worked closely with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to permit the project. The project was also presented to the public in meetings of the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, DRB, Select Board, CPA Committee, Town Meeting and Town Council at various points along the way.
Construction is scheduled to start on September 1st with a grand opening date to be determined based on construction timeline, weather and allowing time for the establishment of grass areas. Funding for the Amherst Dog Park comes from the Stanton Foundation, Community Preservation Act Committee, and private fundraising efforts. The design for the park was a collaborative effort by the Dog Park Task Force, Berkshire Design Group, Planning Department and DPW. The Valliant Group was awarded the contract for construction.