A group of Watertown dog owners who use the dog area of Howe Park have started a petition asking for improvements to the facility.
Rebeca Kerr, who posted the petition on Change.org, said “We are proposing a few simple solutions to help us have a better area, including expansion of the dog off-leash area, proper maintenance of the facilities, some lights and hopefully a water source.”
The petition cites a number of issues that those supporting the petition would like the Town of Watertown to address:
1. The park gets very crowded during peak hours, as the enclosed
area is on the very small side for a city dog park.
2. The current surface has not been properly maintained since its
installation in 2018, and it is unsanitary and unhealthy for our dogs in
the current state.
3. There are no lights in the park, and when it gets dark by 4-5pm,
people that normally get there at that time, are having difficulties
navigating. This is a hazard.
4. A water source would be a very nice addition, as they have one in
Filippello Dog Park, it would be only fair we get one in this park too.
5. There are other small issues like: tree maintenance, wasp nest
removal and other regular upkeep concerns. Any City Park requires
regular maintenance, Howe Park should not be any different.
The petition reads, in part:
To our Watertown neighbors and dog owners, we would like to ask that you read, support, and sign the following petition to request upgrades to Howe off-leash Dog Park. Please share it with your family, friends, and neighbors, and help us build a better space so we can all enjoy Howe Park.
Why should we support our local dog park?
Dog parks like the Howe off-leash Dog Park in Watertown West are very popular for lots of reasons.
One big reason is that while our dogs play and socialize, we get the chance to trade the deadlines and stress of daily life for a few valuable moments to stretch our legs and take in some fresh air. We laugh, chat, and get to know each other while the little ones run around. It builds a strong sense of community that can be difficult to get going in other settings.
Another reason is that many dog owners live in condos, apartments and shared homes in the immediate vicinity and do not have property with a private yard and therefore have no opportunity for their dogs to freely play and exercise in a safe, secured off-leash setting. Community run spaces like dog parks are often the only locally available and viable alternative.
The neighborhood around Howe Park has seen a lot of residential development in the last few years and a proportionate increase in the number of people with dogs. In addition to more people in the area, pandemic restrictions have caused a big shift towards working from home. We are now welcoming a whole new population of mostly puppies or young dogs that we jokingly refer to as “Pandemic Puppies.” It is fun but it is getting crowded!
See the full petition at https://www.change.org/howe-park-upgrades