Dog park reunion focuses on a better future


Norman Hopkins, of Pawtucket, saws a piece of lumber to repair the ramps at Slater Park dog park at an event in May. The dog park committee met with clients of the facility on June 13 to review concerns and explain processes as the park reaches the decade mark.

By ADAM ZANGARI, Valley Breeze Contributing Writer

PAWTUCKET – A June 13 meeting of the Pawtucket Dog Park committee allowed users to voice their concerns and educate the public on the committee’s functions and how it interacts with the facility.

Joanne Palazzo, chair of the committee and keynote speaker at the meeting organized in response to a certain disconnect between the committee and park patrons, explained the different roles of the committee and what they can and cannot do in the park. .

“People have this misconception that it’s our job to watch the dog park,” Palazzo said. “It’s the job of the police.

While committee members noted that the city contributes to certain functions of the park, such as the flooding and lights, the park was created entirely and funded by volunteers.

The committee’s main fundraiser, Dogapalooza, will be held July 31 and August 1 and will feature food trucks and raffles. As part of the event, Palazzo said there will be a dog photo contest, where contestants can choose their favorite photo from 10 photos of local dogs in formal wear chosen by the judges. There will be a Cookie Bake-Off on August 1 at noon with Dogapalooza. Those registered for the cooking contest and the photo contest must register before June 30.

Palazzo asked the crowd at the meeting for suggestions and comments on what they would like to see added to the park, as well as to talk about any issues they would have with the park.

“The dog park has become a popular feature in Slater Park,” she said. “People met people, people made friends and people got together, and that’s really a good thing, but we want it to go from here.”

A resident said the main thing she wanted to see was more disabled spaces outside the facility and police enforcement of people parking in those places without a disability sign. Currently, there are only two spaces for disabled people in the parking lot near the dog park and the lodge.

Parks and Recreation Director John Blais said the reason for the low number of disabled spaces was that officials were unsure how long the park would last. He conceded that now is the time to add more space.

Another resident complained about a woman at the park who put her dogs, which weighed over 30 pounds, in the section of the park fenced for small dogs. Palazzo told him that the best thing to do in a situation like this is to try to defuse the situation by courteously asking him to move the dogs to the other section, as there isn’t much the committee can do in this. this case.

“This is a public entity, so we don’t have the power to say ‘you can’t be here’,” she said.

Another suggestion by those in attendance was to remove a container bolted to the back of the dog park fence, as some people have made a habit of putting dog poop in it.

Palazzo noted that volunteers had tried to remove it, but bolt cutters would be needed to remove it.

Palazzo said committee members suggested adding shovels and rakes to the park, but noted the shovels had been stolen and had not yet been replaced.

The park, which celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 11, is the only dog ​​park in the state to provide lighting, water and shade, according to Palazzo and Blais.

Palazzo said the committee is looking for volunteers to help clean up the park.

“It’s a long way,” she said. “We are keeping pace, but we need help.”

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