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MATTAPOISETT SELECTMEN'S MEETING

Dog Park Proposed For Mattapoisett

Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

Local teen Freemin Bauer has been dreaming about building a dog park in Mattapoisett for years. Now it looks as if that dream may just come true.

Bauer has been working for the past several years towards this goal, even sponsoring a number of "doggie walk-a-thons," with the intent to use the money raised to fund the project.

On November 14, Bauer presented his plan to the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen, moving one paw closer to making the park a reality.

Bauer displayed plans demonstrating how the park might fit into property already owned by the Town near the current location of the Mattapoisett Police Department. He also showed how ongoing fundraising in the form of selling commemorative bricks and benches that would be situated at the location could help defray maintenance costs.

"It could have a trail and picnic benches," Bauer added, making it an attractive location for people to visit and relax.

"I've talked to [Police Chief Mary Lyons] and the Water Department, and they had no problem," Bauer said. He also said that during Harbor Days he gathered 107 signatures from year-round and seasonal residents in favor of the dog park.

Rounding out his comments, Bauer said, "Once the land and funding are all set, there will be a 'Friends of the Dog Park' who will build it and keep it clean."

Bauer plans to submit a grant proposal to the Town's Community Preservation Committee to secure some of the funds necessary to build the park. He added, "There are tons of grants for dog parks."

Selectman Paul Silva asked questions regarding the size of the space needed and suggested that an overlay of the property be executed to find out how it would fit with conceptual plans to build a new fire station and town hall space on the same site.

Town Administrator Michael Gagne said he has spoken to the architect working with the Town on municipal building needs, and he will have him make a drawing for consideration.

Selectman Tyler Macallister said the project would have to go before the Conservation Commission since there are jurisdictional areas at the site. Gagne said he would ask Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold to flag the property.

"We've talked about needing [a dog park] for a long time," said Macallister.

Silva requested that the dog park be placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Selectmen to maintain forward momentum of the plan.

In other business, the selectmen declined to exercise the Town's right of first refusal on land being converted from Chapter 61 recreational purposes for a second solar energy array project off Crystal Spring Road. Gagne said the Town had been in negotiations with the developer and will be asking Town Meeting voters to approval a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan as it has done for other commercial solar arrays in town.

New "No Parking" signs were approved for installation along Aucoot Road on the advice of Safety Officer Justin King. Residents in the area had complained that during the summer months, beach goers accessing the public beach off the rural roadway were parking along Aucoot Road creating traffic problems. The parking area at the beach requires town-issued stickers.

Mattapoisett's reign as the town with 'the most miles ridden on a bike' has passed, and now the trophy awarded by the Southcoast Bikeway Committee has been passed on to Fairhaven, Gagne said.

The annual bike challenge is a friendly competition designed to heighten the awareness of bicycling in the area.

This year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 62 participants in the Southcoast region biked 59,000 miles. Fairhaven cyclists who numbered 11 in the challenge biked 13,000 miles. Not to be totally outdone by its neighbor, Mattapoisett resident Gary Johnson recorded 2,844 miles during that same period, Gagne said.

Macallister applauded the effort of the new Veteran's Agent Secretary Jo-Ann O'Malley for her work on creating a memorable Veterans Day event at Old Hammondtown School on Friday, November 10. He also lauded the Florence Eastman American Legion Post for putting on a great event that included vocals by Mattapoisett native Miss Massachusetts Julian Zucco, The Showstoppers, and the Old Hammondtown School band and chorus.

Gagne reminded the community that the Fall Special Town Meeting is scheduled for November 27 at 6:30 pm in the Old Rochester Regional High School auditorium. The 18-article warrant has been posted on the Town's website, www.mattapoisett.net, and features articles covering such items as asking voters to approve a conservation restriction for land known as Old Hammond Quarry off Mattapoisett Neck Road; $400,000 for freshwater well refurbishments; water main work on Peace's Point; accepting parts of Reservation Road and Goodspeed Island Road for the new multi-use pathway slated for construction; $250,000 for road improvements; and $55,000 to appropriate easement rights for Phase 1B of the multi-use recreational path.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for December 12 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.

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