EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

August 16, 2009

City eyes Plug Pond trails for dog park

Neighbors will have input on the plan

HAVERHILL — The city's top choice for a dog park is a trail area near Plug Pond.

City leaders will meet with neighbors to get their feelings on the plan.

The city's Dog Park Committee has recommended that the park be at Plug Pond, a popular swimming, boating and fishing spot. The park would incorporate a series of trails at the rear of the pond. Those trails are not used much by the public and they are in "fairly good shape," said lawyer Thomas Sullivan, who is chairman of the committee.

The nearest residential area to the proposed dog park is Dwight Street — several hundred yards away. Another location near Plug Pond that could be used as a dog park/dog trail is the area to the right of the rear parking lot, Sullivan said.

The American Legion farm on upper Main Street is the committee's second choice, Sullivan said. Committee members preferred Plug Pond to the legion farm because the pond area is farther away from homes, Sullivan said.

"I endorse it; I like it; I support it," Mayor James Fiorentini said of the Plug Pond location.

He added he intends to schedule a meeting with Dwight Street residents and other neighbors to hear their views.

He said dog owners he has spoken with are "very enthusiastic" about the proposal.

The park will be an area where dog owners can allow their pets to run free as long as they are well behaved and responsive to the owners. For months, dog owners have called on city leaders to establish a park, like the ones created in other communities.

Earlier this year, Sullivan said he hoped the committee would recommend a site by late May and have the park operating this summer.

Haverhill's first attempt at establishing a dog park was thwarted last fall after people residing near that site, a strip of land between Winnekenni Park and Plug Pond, objected.

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