Watertown residents and officials expressed were disappointed by the initial plans for a new dog park a Filippello Park Tuesday.
The town got its first look at the preliminary concept plan for the Filippello Park playground located at the Grove Street entrance of the park during a public meeting at Town Hall. Peter Centola, director of Recreation and consultant Glenn Howard of CDM Smith unveiled the plan, which includes a new dog park, two basketball courts, a picnic area, and a large oval green space.
Howard said that they were limited in what they could do because they can’t disturb the soil below two feet because parts of the land used to be a landfill, and parts of the site where the basketball courts will be is still used to dump snow during the winter.
Councilor Tony Palomba said that the dog park that was presented wasn’t the state of the art dog park the Dog Park Task Force had planned, or that the council had envisioned when if passed a resolution incorporating a dog park be placed at Filippello Park is possible.
“The intent here was, and I believe this was the intent of the committee and the intent of the council, that the orchard space would be transformed into a quality state of the art dog park,” Palomba said. “That was mentioned over and over.
“And while I appreciate the work that the committee did, the Dog Park Task Force asked to be part of this discussion that you’ve had over these months,” Palomba said. “So I’m just putting out very clearly that the intent you met, but that wasn’t the spirit of what he had talked about.”
Watertown resident Diane Fitzpatrick said she agreed with Palomba.
“I think that if you look at a lot of good dog parks, this isn’t going to measure up to those,” Fitzpatrick said. “So I agree that the green is a much better location. I think this is a start, but it could be great. And I look forward to great.”
Susan Falkoff said she thought the current use of the green space is high maintenance, not user friendly, and bad for the environment.
“I just don’t see the point of the green,” Falkoff. “You haven’t convinced me that you have a reason for it.”
In addition to the dog park, Councilor Aaron Dushku also had an issue with the lack of gardens.
“I don’t know how that got thrown out,” Dushku said. “Contaminated sites are all over the world, all over America’s cities and they’re being reclaimed. I know you can’t go below [two feet of] that surface, but raised bed are appealing for that reason.”