Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

October 17, 2013

A place to play fetch

Lack of funds stand in way of dog park

They’ve got the property — a half-acre swath of brush-covered land off High Plain Road near the leaf dump. They’ve got the support — from volunteers, dog-lovers and town officials. And, of course, they have the dogs — all 2,527 of the licensed canines in town that would love to run unleashed around a penned-in playground.

What they don’t have is the $50,000 that will be needed to build it. But they are working on it.

Led by Dr. Tracie Fountas, who owns River Road Veterinary Hospital with her husband, George, a group of volunteers has formed a nonprofit group called Friends of the Andover Dog Park, complete with a website and Facebook page.

At the moment, the group has less than $5,000, Fountas said. And those funds were inherited from the last group working on the dog park. Some money has already been spent on attorney and filing fees as well as a survey of the site, she said.

The group hopes to build on that with a fundraiser in March, said volunteer Christine Zdunczyk of Rennie Drive, who is organizing the event.

“We hope to raise $20,000,” she said. With additional fundraisers, the goal is to start construction on the dog park by sometime next year.

“It all has to do with fundraising,” Fountas said during a recent visit to the site, which is adjacent to the entrance to the Bald Hill Conservation Area, located off High Plain Road in West Andover.

The town donated 3 acres of Conservation Commission land and volunteers cut down a number of trees, leaving several large ones in the middle of what will become the dog park to provide shade to visitors.

As dog park advocates say on their website: “The Andover Dog Park will be a space of approximately a half-acre for our dogs to run and play off leash.

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