Terms proposed for Bethel Dog Park
Bethel selectmen Monday reviewed terms and conditions for the construction of a proposed dog park on Pathway land, as well as wording for a referendum vote planned on the issue for June.
The board will vote on the final wording for the terms and referendum at their April 15 meeting.
The project, planned by a volunteer committee and proposed to be constructed with private funds, has been a source of controversy as some residents are skeptical that it will not cost taxpayer money.
The terms, drawn up by Town Manager Jim Doar, are:
Demonstration of sufficient funds to complete construction;
Funds placed in escrow that will cover dismantling of the park if maintenance conditions are not met in a timely fashion;
Dog waste cleaned up by owners (and policed by dog park committee members) daily;
The Committee shall immediately report any deviations in construction plans dictated by conditions on the ground;
Winter use may be permitted, but will be determined by the selectmen based on a satisfactory plan submitted by the Committee, and at no time shall such use interfere with snowmobile travel or require snow removal by the Dept. of Public Works.
Failure to comply with any conditions will result in revocation of the selectmen’s approval and the dismantling of the park using funds placed in escrow.
A seventh condition was added at the meeting: The Committee will be responsible for moving the existing snowmobile trail on the site.
Selectman Don Bennett said that while no town funds will be budgeted for the park, “Taxpayers are going to wind up with some little piece of this.”
He noted that as the town adds multiple facilities, little tasks can add up, and residents should be aware of that.
“There are things that will happen at the dog park,” acknowledged Doar. “I don’t envision public works taking on a major maintenance role. Anything on town land, he said, “is going to have some town involvement.”
He gave the example of the existing skatepark, which was privately funded. Doar said the town does little maintenance but does, for example, put out a snow fence each year as a barrier to snowmobiles passing nearby.
Steve Wight of the Dog Park Committee also presented rules of etiquette for the park to selectmen. The rules would be posted at the park.
As for the referendum questions itself, the tentative wording is “To see if the Town will vote to construct a dog park at Davis Park solely with donated funds and authorize the Board of Selectmen to accept cash donations from municipalities, private individuals, and foundations; and to accept donations of materials, equipment, labor and services; all for the purpose of constructing a Dog Park at Davis Park under terms and conditions acceptable to the Board of Selectmen.”