“Our aim is to preserve the natural features and rolling terrain of the land and we will keep a couple of trees to provide shade, including a large white oak tree in the center.”
The group says its goal is to provide “a safe, fun area for dogs to play and owners to mingle.” The area will be completely fenced in and will include a double gate at the entrance area to ensure safety.
Fountas said once final plans come in and the group raises enough money for the project, the funds will be turned over to the town of Andover, which will put the project out to bid under municipal bidding and procurement procedures.
According to Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski, any time anything is built on town land, it has to be done using a specific legal process.
“The inspector general watches these things,” he said. “In the past, municipalities could get away with” avoiding public bidding and procurement laws for groups like this.
“In the old days, things were done like that,” he said. “We don’t allow people to just come in and work on town property.”
The town manager said the one exception may be playgrounds built on school property, where volunteers, overseen by the vendor’s engineers, are often used to erect the structures.
“They do it in a way that conforms with the law,” he said.
In the case of the dog park, the money raised will go toward excavating the site, including preparing it for proper drainage; buying and putting down wood chips, building a fence, and expanding parking at the site, which also serves as the entrance to the 203-acre Bald Hill Conservation area.
Wayne Nader, the town’s animal control officer, said he has watched this project go in fits and starts for 20 years.