The Town of Amherst is set to open its new Dog Park on Old Belchertown Road with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, July 27 at 10 am. The project originates from a series of public meetings in 2015 and 2016, which led to the formation of the Dog Park Task Force in 2017.
With the guidance of Assistant Town Manager and Director of Conservation and Development Dave Ziomek and Animal Welfare Officer Carol Hepburn, the nine-member volunteer Task Force studied potential locations, designs, funding options, and governance structures. The Old Belchertown Road landfill site was selected in January of 2018.
The town awarded Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds in May of 2018 for site and design preparation, followed by a design grant from the Stanton Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to canine welfare in Massachusetts. In August 2018, the Task Force selected Berkshire Design Group of Northampton to design the dog park. Following approval from various town boards and committees, the Stanton Foundation awarded a grant covering 90% of construction costs in September 2019. Construction of the Amherst Dog Park was completed in June of this year.
“We are very excited to be opening the Amherst Dog Park next week. The project is the culmination of years of work by so many people. I want to extend thanks to the Task Force, CPA Committee, Town Council, the Stanton Foundation and many donors who supported the project. A special note of thanks to our talented DPW staff who played key roles in the final design, construction and will help to oversee operations and maintenance of the park” said Dave Ziomek, Assistant Town Manager.
“The new Amherst Dog Park is a great example of a collaboration between private citizens and the town," says Jim Pistrang, Chair of the Dog Park Task Force. "The community recognized the need for a park, volunteers joined the Dog Park Task Force to design the park, establish the rules, identify funding sources, and Town officials and departments helped bring the park to reality.”
Ted Diamond, Vice Chair for the Task Force added, "I am happy that the Amherst community will finally have a place where all dogs can socialize off leash in a safe environment. This park will have benefits for both dogs and their owners for many years to come."
All are welcome to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held on Wednesday, July 27th at 10:00 am at the Amherst Dog Park located on Old Belchertown Road, right off of Route 9.
A Friends of the Amherst Dog Park group is being formed to work with the town in the support and governance of the park. Those interested in joining the Friends group should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org