A tussle has emerged over the latest proposed site for a Bourne Town Dog Park.
The Bourne Open Space Committee has proposed siting the dog park behind the current Pocasset fire station, but a number of residents have objected strenuously to that location.
The committee proposed the site to the Bourne Bourne of Selectmen at the board’s meeting Tuesday night, September 3.
The recommendation drew pushback from a number of residents.
Susan M. Baracchini of Wing Road told the board she opposed placing the park at that site because of the proximity to a ball field where a lot of young children play.
“You’re going to have baseballs falling into the dog park,” she said, “you’re going to have poop in the dog park, you’re going to have kids climbing over the fence to get the ball.”
She suggested that fecal matter from the dogs would also make its way into the nearby marshes.
She said that the area is very well utilized by the community with people playing pickleball, among other sports. She joked that the baseball field is “actually used as a dog park already, unofficially,” because a “No Dogs Allowed” sign has been taken down over the years.
Open Space Committee chairman Barry H. Johnson, in his report to the selectmen, said that five different locations were considered for the dog park. They included Chester Park in Monument Beach; the former Ella F. Hoxie Elementary School in Sagamore Beach; the Monument Beach call fire station; a section of the town forest off County Road; and the area behind the fire station on Barlows Landing Road.
Chester Park was deemed unusable because the Department of Public Works said the site has surface drainage problems, Mr. Johnson said.
The Hoxie School was also ruled out because it is located north of the Cape Cod Canal, and the prevailing opinion is that the dog park should be located south of the canal, he said.
The site of the Monument Beach call fire station was felt to be too small for the dog park. It measures only 5,500 square feet, Mr. Johnson said.
The County Road site, he said, was disqualified because it is located in a water resource district. Water district officials have expressed concern that fecal matter would make its way into the groundwater.
That left the three and a half acres behind the current Pocasset fire station. The town plans to close that station and open a new fire station on the south side of the Cape Cod Canal in the not too distant future. The town’s South Side Fire Station Feasibility Design and Building Committee is reportedly zeroing in on a potential site for a new fire station.
Ms. Baracchini, in her objection to the use of the Pocasset site, also noted that parking is limited for the businesses that are located adjacent to the field. The amount of available parking cannot accommodate the people who would utilize the dog park, as well as the businesses already in place, she said.
“There just isn’t any extra space for a dog park to be there,” she said.
Robert L. Dwyer of Kenwood Road agreed that there is a need for a dog park in Bourne. Mr. Dwyer said he and his daughters use the Falmouth Dog Park but they would like something closer.
He objected to the Barlows Landing Road site for the same reason as Ms. Baracchini.
Mr. Dwyer said that the Falmouth site typically draws 30 to 40 cars on a weekend. That many cars on top of the cars from people there for a baseball game would overtax the available parking, he said.
Creation of the dog park would also involve removal of two basketball courts that were installed back in 2000, in memory of Bourne High School student and basketball standout David M. Duca. Mr. Duca died in a 1994 car crash on MacArthur Boulevard. Creation of the courts was a collaborative effort between the David M. Duca Foundation and the Bourne Recreation Department.
Selectmen Peter J. Meier objected to the proposed site because there is no plan in place for relocating the basketball courts.
“You don’t remove something unless you have another place where you’re going to move it, and I’m afraid that if we take those basketball courts away, they may not go back anytime soon,” he said.
Mr. Johnson told the selectmen that a feasibility study has placed the cost of the dog park in the range of $350,000 to $440,000. Pocasset residents Janet P. Butler and Douglas A. Butler have been at the forefront of the effort to establish a dog park to Bourne.
The Butlers have targeted a grant from the Stanton Foundation of Cambridge to help fund creation of the dog park. The foundation offers grants in three areas: international and nuclear security, informed citizens and canine welfare.
Stanton Foundation canine welfare grants cover up to 90 percent of construction costs and are capped at $225,000. The foundation also requires a 10 percent match from the town on the cost of construction and a commitment from the community to fund all park maintenance costs.
The Bourne Community Preservation Committee has already approved $25,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for the dog park. That would represent the 10 percent match required by the foundation, Mr. Johnson told the selectmen. However, the Stanton Foundation also requires that applicants secure a piece of land first before any grant is approved.
The board of selectmen took no action on the Open Space Committee’s recommendation. Board chairman Judith M. Froman said that “the conversation will continue.”