LEE -- Still wanted: A playground for dogs and their masters.
After two years of planning, organizers remain stifled in pursuit of land to house a dog park.
"It’s frustrating as a group to put together a project wanted by people in Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge ... and unable to identify a piece of land," said Kristie Scarafoni, co-founder of the Roko Dog Park Awareness Group.
Since December 2011, the group has searched for property -- preferably donated -- for a fenced-in facility originally planned for a two-acre site. Organizers have scoped out several pieces of private and town land, but to no avail.
Scarafoni said the project has been scaled back to at least one acre, in part to increase the chance of finding a suitable parcel for pooches and people to have fun.
"We remain serious about establishing a dog park as we believe there is land out there," she said.
Earlier this year, the Lee Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Roko to help the group find a home for the dog park. Chamber President Bruce Singer said the project remains high on his priority list, given the potential of drawing people to local shops and restaurants.
"I’m hoping we can get them to the next level," Singer said. "The closer the dog park is to the downtown, it can been an economic generator."
Once a suitable location is found, Scarafoni expects an increase in financial contributions.
"A lot of people are hesitant to donate unless we secure a piece of land," she said.
Currently, the dog park group has raised $6,800 for an estimated $20,000 project.
The majority of the funds will pay for a galvanized, chain-link fence to enclose the 1-acre park, which is likely to be divided into separate exercise areas for small and large dogs. Any unexpended funds will go toward the maintenance of the park, according to Scarafoni.
Proponents say it will be a "use at your own risk" facility, and the town wouldn’t be held liable for any injuries or damage caused by dogs using the park.
Only dogs that are licensed, collared with identification, and up-to-date on their vaccinations would be allowed in.
Dogs would be allowed to run free within the fenced-in facility, but their owners would be required to stay inside with a leash in hand, keep an eye on their pets at all times and clean up afterward.
How to help
Anyone interested in the Lee dog park can reach organizers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Facebook page; search RoKo Dog Park Awareness group.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.