DANVERS — Big changes are on the horizon for the Danvers Dog Park, according to Recreation Director Dave Mountain.
Mountain said the town is hoping to complete several improvements to the dog park next summer that will make the park more accessible and dog-friendly. He added that the park will most likely remain open during construction; however, portions of the park being worked on will be roped off from visitors.
The improvements, designed by Civil Engineer Martha Duffield, will be funded by $75,000 previously allocated by Town Meeting, a $10,000 donation from the Friends of the Danvers Dog Park and, hopefully, up to $31,000 in grant money from the Stanton Foundation.
Mountain said the town will find out whether or not it will receive the Stanton Foundation grant before winter's end.
The Department of Public Works initially estimated the project would cost approximately $189,000 if private contractors completed all of the work, but since that estimate, the department decided to take on many of the projects itself, Mountain said. This will significantly bring down the overall cost, he said.
According to Carla King, the president of the Friends of the Danvers Dog Park, the group will formally donate the $10,000 to the town during the Select Board meeting on Dec. 15. The group is also continuing to raise funds to improve the dog park by selling engraved bricks, which will be installed in the bullpen of the dog park, King said. Each brick is $100, and the fundraiser will go until February.
“The brick can be in memory of a lost pet, a passed away pet, or a current pet. Bricks can be engraved in any way they want,” King said, adding that there is also a donation box located at the dog park where visitors can contribute to ongoing improvements. “We continue to do fundraising because there will always be more to do in the future.”
According to Mountain, one of the main goals of the planned construction is to level the ground on top of which the park sits. Mountain said because the park sits on a slope, not only is it less accessible to handicapped residents, but much of the soft, paw-friendly pea stone top layer migrates down the hill and exposes sharper, larger stones.
“By eliminating that problem and keeping the top surface just a pea stone surface, it will be a much better dog park,” Mountain said, adding that the town currently has to do regular maintenance on the park to maintain the pea stone top layer.
He also said the town is planning to add level pathways to the dog park.
“The dog park, and I see this on a daily basis, is one of the most popular parks in town,” he noted. "It is the only...area in town where dogs are allowed to run off leash."
Those who wish to purchase a brick from the Friends of the Danvers Dog Park can do so here: https://donationbricks.com/danversdogpark.
Staff writer Erin Nolan can be reached at 978-338-2534, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @erin_nolan_.