May 23, 2018
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Supporters make case for dog park in Thomaston

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

THOMASTON, Maine — Selectmen voiced their support Monday night for a plan to create a fenced-in dog park on town-owned land.

No vote was taken but selectmen urged the organizer of the park plan to meet with the town manager.

Spokesman Jim Hodson said a dog park would have benefits to the town as well as pets and their owners.

Envisioned by the Friends of the Thomaston, Maine Dog Park, it would be similar to the one in Belfast, Hodson said.

One of the things the group is seeking from the town is the land for the park, Hodson said. Two to three acres is needed, he said. One location that is being eyed is town-owned land near Dwight and Erin streets, he said.

A dog park in Thomaston would attract people from around the region, Hodson said. The nearest dog park is in Belfast, 31 miles away. Many local people go to Belfast, he said, or go to Merryspring Park in Camden where there is a field for dogs to run. There is no fence at Merryspring, however, he noted.

The benefits to the town would be many, he said. Those include economic benefits, as many of the dog owners who come from other towns would stop and buy gas, eat at restaurants and shop at stores in town, Hodson noted.

“Also it would benefit tourism as tourists would look for a dog-friendly place to visit,” he said.

The estimated cost to create the park would be $25,000-$50,000, he said. The largest expense is for the fencing. The proposal calls for a section for large dogs and one for smaller dogs.

Hodson said the expense could be less with the use of local volunteer labor. He said that there also are grants available from dog food companies.

Currently, people walk dogs in the town and they may get on other people’s properties. A fenced-in park would address that issue, he noted.

The supporters of the park also plan to have running water and a gazebo.

There would be rules, including people cleaning up after their pets.

The group has created a Facebook page, “Friends of the Thomaston, Maine Dog Park.” The group also is creating a nonprofit organization. Hodson said there are about 100 people interested in starting the park.

The most reasonable time for the park to begin construction is in the spring, he said.

Selectman Jonathan Eaton said the park plan seems like a good idea.

Chairwoman Lee-Ann Upham said she too supports the plan.

“I was heartbroken when we lost the university. This just elevates Thomaston one more level. I wholeheartedly support this project,” Upham said.

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