Monday February 4, 2013

LEE -- The Lee Chamber of Commerce has joined advocates for a dog park in an effort to jump start the project more than a year in the making.

The business organization is in pursuit of a central location for the canine recreational area on behalf of the RoKo Dog Park Awareness Group, according to chamber President Bruce Singer.

Singer, himself a dog owner, said the chamber is looking at a couple of properties, with the hope the dog park is near Lee's downtown commercial district.

"Dog parks tend to generate business for the area as it brings people together," he noted.

RoKo co-founder Jackie Schultz is thrilled to have the chamber's backing.

"Just having people in the town of Lee with connections really helps," said Schultz, a certified professional pet sitter and groomer who lives in Otis.

Last March, town officials had offered dog park organizers three to four possible municipal parcels to consider for a fenced-in facility of at least two acres.

Among the sites are a parcel of open space west of the wastewater treatment plant access road on Route 102 and property along Golden Hill Road.

Once a suitable location is found, Schultz expects an increase in donations for a project already with high moral support.

"It blows my mind how excited people are about this; people from Connecticut, Worcester and New York City who come in town for the weekend," she said.

Since the project was unveiled in December 2011, proponents report that $7,000 for the estimated $20,000 price tag of the dog park has been raised.

The majority of the funds will pay for a galvanized, chain-link fence to enclose the minimum two acres needed for the exercise area for dogs.

In addition to money, RoKo is also seeking volunteers to help with upcoming fundraisers and to staff the dog park after it opens.

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 that are 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.

While dogs would be allowed to run free within the fenced-in facility, 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.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

How to help

Anyone interested in the dog park can reach organizers via email at rokodogparkag@yahoo.com or through the Facebook page; search RoKo Dog Park Awareness Group.