By Seth Daniel
Get your paws to City Hall on Saturday, as dog owners across the City are invited to rally and parade down to Lower Broadway where the City is planning its first off-leash dog park.
The Paw-Raid event will start at City Hall Saturday, Sept. 9, at 11 a.m. From there, dogs and their owners will stroll down Broadway to the site of the proposed new park under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge.
The new dog park will be at the corner of Broadway and Commandants Way across from the Chelsea Yacht Club on a small, 2,000 sq. ft. corner of the newly-constructed Mystic Overlook Park – soon to be Chelsea’s first under-the-bridge open space.
“It’s a smaller park so it’s designed for smaller dogs,” said Planner Alex Train. “While we do have larger parks beside it, all of our parks in Chelsea mandate dogs be on a leash. This will be the first off-leash park in the City and will have about 2,000 sq. ft. for dogs to run around.”
The small park will be separated into two areas with a retaining wall and will have benches and a doggie water fountain. It will also include landscaping and other improvements.
The park is actually a gift to the City in many ways, with the Stanton Foundation of Cambridge footing – or “pawing” – 90 percent of the costs. The City only has to pay about 10 percent of the costs of the Park, which are being done in conjunction with the larger Mystic Overlook open space next door.
Train said the plan is to put the project to bid at the end of September and begin work in the fall. The hope is to have completion of it by late spring 2018.
The event on Saturday is designed by the City and the Chelsea Prospers movement to get a critical mass of dog owners who could serve as a “Friends” group to the park.
“It’s a celebratory event to make people fully aware of the construction schedule and get a gathering of dog owners to walk together down Broadway,” he said. “There will be a lot of ongoing maintenance that the City is hoping to share with any Friends of the Dog Park group that could form. We hope that we could collaborate with a Friends group to maintain and improve the dog park. We’re really trying to foster that congregation of dog owners with Saturday’s event.”
Train said that City leaders – and even planners like himself – have seen the need for more dog facilities.
“I’ve worked here for two years and the numbers of people I see with dogs is steadily increasing,” he said. “This is definitely needed.”