Carroll recreation bureau to propose dog park site

Plan would use Community Pond outside Westminster

November 13, 2003|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

Hoping to add to a growing list of dog parks across Maryland, several pet owners are asking Carroll County to set aside space for their four-legged friends to frolic.

The county Department of Recreation and Parks is to present to the county commissioners today a proposal to fence off an area where dogs can run unleashed within the 7-acre Westminster Community Pond on Route 140 at Route 97, just outside the city limits.

"There are misconceptions about dog parks, like there are dogs just barking," said Richard Soisson, the department's director. "It's more of a socialization for dogs, playing together."

The 2.5-acre dog park would consist of a fenced-in area with two sections, one for small dogs and another for bigger dogs. Also planned are benches, trash containers and "potty" bags to be used in picking up after the dogs.

Rules would govern the safety, cleanup and supervision of pets at the dog park, which would encompass the open space parallel to Route 140 and away from the few houses near the pond, Falkenstine said.

In recent years, dog parks have become a more familiar sight throughout Maryland. Harford County is to open its first dog park Saturday. There are also dog parks in Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and in the Canton area of Baltimore.

In Carroll County, the idea of a dog park is not new. About four years ago, a proposal for a dog park at King Park in Westminster was turned down after nearby residents expressed concerns about loud barking and feces that might not be cleaned up, said Ron Schroers, administrator of the city's office of Recreation and Parks.

"It was really a neat idea," he said. "I wish the residents hadn't given it the thumbs down."

This time around, supporters are hopeful that the dog park idea will be successful.

"The location is more convenient," said Deborah Smart, a member of the Carroll Kennel Club who worked with Falkenstine.

The dog park would cost an estimated $25,000, most of it for fences, Soisson said. The money would come from the county's "self-help" program budget, which funds small recreation projects with the help of private donations.

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