YARMOUTH — A task force creating a new dog park in town has narrowed 11 possible sites down to one location: Pratt’s Brook Park off North Road.

Placing the dog park at Pratt’s Brook will require a vote from the Town Council, which is expected at its Thursday, Dec. 19, meeting, according to Karyn MacNeill, director of Yarmouth Community Services.

The council received a presentation on the Dog Park Task Force’s progress during a workshop last week. MacNeill said councilors seemed generally supportive of the work done so far and she’s hopeful the group will get permission from the council to “move ahead with extensive outreach, idea gathering and possible designs.”

A citizen-led group in Yarmouth would like to site a 1.5-acre dog park in Pratt’s Brook Park off North Road. Courtesy

She said the goal is to use about 1.5 acres of the 225-acre Pratt’s Brook parcel to create the dog park. How much the dog park will cost to build will depend on the design, as well as other factors, MacNeill said this week.

She called Pratt’s Brook the “most reasonable location” for the off-leash dog park and said the plan is to locate the dog-only area inside the current disc golf course, which is adjacent to the parking lot.

This summer the Dog Park Task Force created an online survey designed to assess support for the proposal, as well as find out what type of amenities they’d like to see. That survey is still available at yarmouthcommunityservices.org.

MacNeill said of the first 100 respondents, the vast majority were in favor of a dog park for Yarmouth.

“We’ve had additional responses since the last analysis and they show the same trend,” she said. “As part of our next steps, we’ll continue to monitor that survey as we move ahead.”

Town records show that there are nearly 1,200 licensed dogs in Yarmouth, but there is only one place where dogs are allowed off leash. That’s the picnic area at Royal River Park in downtown. In all other open spaces around town dogs are required to be leashed and under voice control at all times.

The council created the Dog Park Task Force, a citizen-led group operating under the purview of the Parks and Lands Committee, nearly a year ago in response to residents and dog owners who want to have a place in Yarmouth where dogs can run freely.

It’s been about a decade since the possibility of creating a dog park was first raised in town. And, according to town staff and others, the conflict between dog walkers and humans is a continually hot topic and is one of the top complaints the Parks and Lands Committee deals with every year.

MacNeill said it’s vital to have a location first, because any costs associated with constructing the dog park will be based on the “size, design, amenities, access, water needs, parking requirements, etc.”

She also said that before anything is finally decided upon, “residents will have many opportunities to see the plans” and provide input. Anyone who would like to get involved in the process can email her at [email protected].

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