NORTH ADAMS — Grab your leashes — the Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved a new dog park near the Houghton Street playground on Monday.
With two fenced-in sections — one for large dogs and second for small dogs — the proposed park totals more than 6,000 square feet and will be positioned in the northwest corner of the green space adjacent to the Houghton Street playground, chosen for its central location in the city.
The park was originally proposed by a group of residents, who update their progress regularly on a Facebook page titled "North Adams Community Dog Park," earlier this year.
According to Mayor Richard Alcombright, the cost of constructing the city-owned dog park is not anticipated to exceed $5,000 and the city will not be required to purchase any additional insurance coverage. Should everything fall into place, the park could open before the end of the year.
The group has argued that the park would be beneficial to city residents, tourists, and dogs alike by providing a safe space for canines to roam and play off-leash. It plans to have an increased presence at the park in its initial weeks to acclimate guests to the rules and best practices of the park.
"We're going to be community role models of good behavior," said Tara Jacobs, who has helped spearhead the effort.
A walking track that currently runs through where the dog park is proposed will have to be rerouted.
Christa Abel, owner of local pet supply store Bark'N'Cat, said the North Adams dog park will be only the second of its kind in the Berkshires.
There will be several rules posted outside the park, including a ban on dogs that exhibit violent tendencies or that are unvaccinated and unhealthy. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied with an adult while in the park and puppies under the age of four months old are not allowed.
Dogs must always be attended and there is a limit of two dogs per person. Two waste bag dispensers have already been donated to the group and pet owners will be responsible for immediately cleaning up after their animals.
The park will be built with gates built to specifically isolate dogs in a small holding area so they can be released before exiting.
Some commission members expressed concerns that the park would be in such proximity to a playground, and the commission agreed to monitor the situation.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376