By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — There were 2,191 dogs registered in the city in 2015, one for every seven people, representing almost 14 percent of the bipedal population, and they may soon have a playground all to themselves.
The City Council this week gave its blessing to the proposal by Happy Tails Dog Park to construct fenced play areas for dogs and puppies in the South End of the city and authorized City Manager Scott Myers to negotiate a leasing agreement with the organization for the use of the property. The approval is contingent on securing $100,000 is donations to construct and maintain the park as well as approval of the project by the Planning Board.
Last month, Ginny Martin, president of Happy Tails Dog Park, told the council that a donation of $100,000 from the Lezama family will finance construction of the park and endow a fund for its maintenance and requested that the family's name be incorporated into the name of park.
The dog park would be sited on part of a 25-acre rectangular tract between the end of Spruce Street and Growtth Road, which is owned by the city. The city acquired the land in 1976 with a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, established by Congress in 1965, which the restricts the property to recreational uses.
Happy Tails Dog Park proposes to lease two acres at the southeast end of the property. John Rokeh, of Rokeh Consulting LLC of Chichester, has prepared a plan for the park, which includes two abutting enclosures, each 78 feet by 130 feet, one for large dogs and another for small dogs, and a third separate enclosure, 20 feet by 60 feet, for puppies. The park would be reached from the end of Growtth Road, where a 20-foot gravel driveway would lead to a graveled parking lot with spaces for 19 vehicles. The park would not not be served by either water or electricity, and Martin expected the annual maintenance costs to fall between $1,500 and $2,000. The park, Martin said, would be managed, policed and maintained by members of Happy Trails Dog Park.
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