After years of discussions, Fort Kent council approves dog park
FORT KENT, Maine – The prospect of building a dog park in Fort Kent has bounced on and off town council agendas for years, but the park is expected to become a reality this summer.
The council voted unanimously on Monday, June 13, to approve the purchase of fencing for the park, which will most likely be built on a large field of grass surrounded by an asphalt walking trail at Riverside Park.
Councilor Joey Ouellette, a dog owner himself, has been a proponent of the park for years.
“Many years ago, several people expressed interest in a dog park. I thought it was a great idea, so I asked that it be put on the agenda for discussion,” Ouellette said. “We went through several changes over the years causing delays. We have since got an amazing new recreation director who started working on it again.”
The council allotted $5,500 to pay for 40 feet by 60 feet of fencing to enclose the dog park. Recreation and parks director Jason Nadeau said he will order the fencing from Menards, and a friend of his has agreed to transport it at a reduced cost.
The town will remove the fencing from Riverside Park each winter.
The councilors discussed the potential for using old tires or culverts to create play areas for the dogs. They are also seeking a few benches for dog owners to relax on while their dogs play.
“I think it will be a great place for people with smaller backyards to let their dogs get out and run around a little bit and kind of mingle with others for socialization,” Nadeau said.
Donald Sirois of Frenchville walks his dog, Belle, at Riverside Park once or twice a week, he said. Sirois said he would bring the 17-year-old Australian Shepherd to visit the dog park, but only if there were no other dogs visiting at the time, due to Belle’s advanced age.
Sirois said he thinks the idea of building a dog park in Fort Kent is “perfect.”
“Dogs need a lot of exercise and this is a good thing to take care of them,” Sirois said.
The dog park will be free for people of all communities to enjoy, provided they follow some basic safety and etiquette rules which will be posted on a sign at the park.
“My understanding is there are at least 500 registered dogs in Fort Kent. I hope this provides a great activity for young and old people alike. We desperately need to find ways to attract and retain people and I hope this is one of the ways,” Ouellette said.
Nadeau said he anticipates the park will be operational sometime in July.