By Carley Dangona
AGAWAM – The design process has begun for an upcoming dog park and construction will most likely begin this year.
A conceptual design for a 2.1-acre dog park at Shea Field was unveiled a public informational meeting on Jan. 29. Representatives from the Berkshire Design Group Inc., town officials and members of the Agawam Dog Owners Group (ADOG) joined residents at the session, where public input was received.
The design is currently being updated to incorporate the suggestions of those that intended to create a park that meets the needs of residents and their canine friends collectively.
“We’re very excited to be starting the actual process of design,” Deborah Sanchez, ADOG president said, adding that the town has been “enthusiastic and ambitious” about the project.
Several sources are funding the project. ADOG contributed $10,000 from its fundraising efforts, $14,145 in Community Preservation Act funds was approved by the City Council and the Stanton Foundation awarded ADOG a $245,000 grant for the project.
Christopher Sparks, director of Parks & Recreation, explained that the town hopes to break ground on the project late summer or early fall this year.
“Like ADOG, the town is excited to get the project underway – the sooner, the better,” he said.
Sparks noted that no specific timeline has been designated for the project and that another public meeting will be conducted once the design is drafted, taking the comments from the last meeting into consideration.
Peter Wells, principal and landscape architect for Berkshire Design, said, “One of our goals is to create a park that’s safe and durable, with a naturalistic appearance.” Materials that are sturdy and visually appealing will be selected.
Wells added that he’s enjoying the project. He said the park will include elements such as play and exercise areas, drinking and bathing stations, and waste disposal areas as well as sitting areas for dog owners and a pavilion.
“There will be many different elements that will surely provide enough entertainment for owners and dogs,” he said.
Sanchez stated ADOG would continue its fundraising efforts to support the maintenance of the park and for the possible development of the remaining three acres of land ADOG has for the park.
The group raised more than $2,600 at a recent comedy show event and is already selling tickets for its annual Bronx Zoo trip that will take place on June 1. For tickets and more information about the group, visit http://agawamdogpark.com