By Carley Dangona
AGAWAM – The next step in creating a canine-friendly park awaits approval so that the construction process can begin, in time for a grand opening in the spring of 2015.
The town revealed its finalized conceptual plans on April 16 and received Planning Board approval on April 17 for the dog park to be established adjacent to Shea Field.
The total cost of the 2.1-acre park is $269,000, which is funded by a $245,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation, a $10,000 donation by the Agawam Dog Owners Group (ADOG) and $14,000 in Community Preservation Act funds. The Berkshire Design Group Inc. drafted the park’s design.
“Having the conceptual plan approved is a huge step forward,” Christopher Sparks, director of Parks & Recreation, said. “We’re very grateful to the Community Preservation Act Committee for its aid money and to ADOG for its donation. Overall, it’s a good collaborative effort between private citizen, the foundation and the committee.”
Sparks expects the Stanton Foundation will approve the design within the next two to three weeks. Ideally, he would like to have its approval by June 1 so the town can spend that month creating the necessary construction documents to put the project out for bidding in July. With this timeline, the construction of the park can take place during August and September.
According to Sparks, this would allow the grass of the park to undergo two growing seasons, giving it time to root before the park opens. The park site has many “full, mature trees” that will provide shade for both dogs and their owners. Benches will be placed throughout the park and a pavilion will be added to the location for relief from the elements.
The park is designed with two play areas, one for small dogs and one for larger breeds. The small dogs would be allowed in the large dog area, but not vice versa. Grading to provide drainage will be created and playscapes for the dogs to play on will be added.
The existing trails surrounding the park will be incorporated in the design to prevent people from having to cut through the park to access Shea Field. Two double-gated entrances in addition to service gates needed for maintenance crews to access the park are also park of the design.