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Letter: Former Conservation Commission Chairs Oppose Proposed Dog Park Location

As former Chairs of the Woodbridge Conservation Commission, we oppose the proposal to site a dog park on the Fitzgerald Tract.  We have both owned dogs and do not oppose the concept of creating a dog park in Woodbridge.  But the Fitzgerald Tract is the wrong location.

In the 1990s, the Conservation Commission promoted the construction of the Fitzgerald Trails.  We both served on the Conservation Commission at that time, and remember that others in town were eyeing the Fitzgerald Tract for active recreation facilities such as a baseball field.  By placing trails at the site, our Commission hoped to offer a unique passive recreation opportunity to residents, while preserving the tranquil, agrarian character of the land.

As we and our fellow commission members saw it then, other than the trails, only the community gardens (which date back to the 1970s) should be allowed on the Fitzgerald Tract.  Once the trails were constructed, the Conservation Commission consistently advocated to preserve the Fitzgerald Tract’s tranquility and site active recreational facilities at other town locations.  We recognized that protecting the Fitzgerald Tract from change would protect the unique experience offered to walkers on Fitzgerald’s trails, preserve the Tract as a vital link to our Town’s agrarian heritage, and maintain the natural habitat of the parcel for the benefit of wildlife, bird watchers, and nature lovers.

The Town has yet to consider other possible locations for a dog park.  The Board of Selectmen should work with residents and the appropriate commissions to assess all town properties and identify the best location(s) for the active recreation facilities such as a dog park, ball fields, and volleyball court that are recommended by the current Recreation Commission.  There are better locations than the Fitzgerald Tract for these active recreation amenities, including possibly the Woodbridge Country Club.

Kathy Gartland, Conservation Commission Chair 1983-2007

Maria Kayne, Conservation Commission Chair 2007-2013

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