Public dog park in Rockport slated to open Nov. 1Merryspring to close to dogs
Rockport — With a capital campaign successfully underway for the renovation of the P.A.W.S. shelter — formerly Camden Rockport Animal Rescue League — the organization has announced they will fast-track a public dog park to coincide with Merryspring Nature Center's plan to ban dogs from the premises.
P.A.W.S. Administrative Director Lisa Dresser said the public dog park has been received with enthusiasm.
"We've had such positive feedback on the dog park," she said. Dresser said she believes the only existing fenced-in, public dog park in the region is in Belfast.
She explained Merryspring has been looking into changing the dog policy — traditionally the nature preserve has opened part of the acreage to off-leash dogs, but there is no fence. Dresser said she and P.A.W.S. board members hope that their on-site dog park will open at about the same time Merryspring closes to dogs, allowing local dog owners to have an immediate option for letting their canines enjoy off-leash time.
"It's happened, literally, in the last two months," Dresser said of moving forward with the dog park.
Dresser said the fenced in facility will likely be "about an acre" in size and will utilize existing space on shelter grounds.
"We're hoping to keep it as natural as possible," she said of the park's topography.
Rosey Gerry of Lincolnville will help bush hog the overgrown area and Camden Arborist Doug Johnson will come "tag" the trees, Dresser said. She added the work could be underway during the first week of September. She is optimistic that many of the large trees on the site will remain once the park is constructed.
The facility will have a separate area for small and large canines — both will be double-gated.
"We don't want anyone escaping," Dresser said.
The park will have bench seating and a kiosk with additional seating where the rules of the park will be posted. There will be seasonal running water available. She said the goal is to keep the P.A.W.S. dog park open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.
A $1 million capital campaign for a full renovation of the animal shelter was launched in June and Dresser said the community has been supportive.
"[The capital campaign] seems to be going really well," she said.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.