Stories from Our Grantees

From Abington Dog Park, The Enterprise August 2019

“After three years of community organizing and fundraising, Abington’s dog park opened its gates Saturday. ‘It is amazing to me about how many people in Abington and in the surrounding towns supported this,’ said Sue McHugh, a member of the Abington Dog Park Committee, the group that organized and raised money for the project. ‘There is so much you could spend your money on, and they wanted this.’ More than 50 dogs and their owners from Abington and the surrounding communities attended the park’s opening.

The committee learned about the Stanton Foundation that provides grants to build dog parks around the state. It contributed about 90 percent of the funding — about $188,000. The Abington Dog Park Committee coordinated fundraisers to come up with the remaining amount of $20,000.

The committee worked with the town to secure about an acre of land near the senior center for the dog park. It also worked with the Stanton Foundation on designs and Dandel Construction from Hanson built the park. She was happy about Saturday’s turnout and worked with committee members and volunteers to make sure opening day went smoothly at the park.

Leslie DiOrio of Whitman came to the park with her two pug and beagle mixes, Lexi and Riley. Before, she drove to Weymouth to take them to the dog park there.

She likes how Abington’s park is good for both of her pets. Riley is social and likes to approach other dogs and people while Lexi has some anxiety and likes to be on her own.”

From Agawam Dog Park, The Reminder May 2019

"Since it opened in 2015, the dog park has been a destination for residents with their canine companions for exercise and social activity. When asked about how the park has been received, Sue Drumm, president of the Agawam Dog Owners Group, had a simple response. ‘It’s been great.’ So great, it’s become a selling point for some people considering relocating to the area. ‘I moved to Agawam about four months ago,’ Susan Grossberg said. ‘This park was what convinced me this is where I wanted to live.’

The product of an extremely involved process that included fundraising, the use of Community Preservation Act funding and a grant from the Stanton Foundation, the dog park could serve as a model for others in the area.

'A lot of people from the surrounding communities come and enjoy the park, not just Agawam residents, which is really nice,' Drumm said. 'I think that we’ve inspired West Springfield, who’s hoping to put in a dog park next year. They came to us and we gave them information on how we achieved the Stanton Grants from the Stanton Foundation.”

From Thorndike Off Leash Recreation Area (Arlington, MA), Arlington Dog Owners 2012

"The Thorndike Off Leash Recreation Area (OLRA), is a dedicated, fenced off-leash facility (or “dog park”) operated by the Town of Arlington, located in East Arlington, right along the Minuteman bike trail. It is open to all dog owners whose dogs are healthy, well-socialized and friendly, and who follow the regulations to keep everybody safe and happy.

Fenced dog parks in Arlington have been allowed by law since 2003, but had not yet been established. At A-DOG’s request, the Town, through its Recreation Department and Park and Recreation Commission, formed a Dog Park Task Force, that began meeting in 2009, with at least three fenced dog parks on its “wish list”. Through a very generous grant to the Town of Arlington from the Stanton Foundation, specifically for the establishment of an OLRA, our first fenced dog park, at Thorndike Field in East Arlington, became a reality in the spring of 2012!

Visit the dog park today so your well-socialized dog can enjoy practicing on the agility elements (tunnels and “dog walk”) and romping and wrestling with new doggy buddies. There is, also, a separate fenced area for small dogs, puppies, or others whose owners might choose to keep them away from the main action, in smaller play groups."

From Ayer Community Dog Park, Town of Ayer June 2018

“Annually, residents in the Town of Ayer register over 600 dogs for licenses. As we all know, dogs must be walked and exercised because a tired dog is a happy dog – and a happy dog is a good dog! The question was where?

To that end, Mark Wetzel, the Superintendent of the Ayer Department of Public Works (DPW), applied for and secured a large grant from the Stanton Foundation in 2014 for the construction of a dog park. The grant covered all of the design costs and 90% of the construction costs but the Stanton Foundation required that the remaining 10% construction cost be met by the local community

Clearing for the dog park began in the fall of 2017 on a Town-owned parcel of land on Snake Hill Road. The park opened in June 2018, featuring two fenced-in play areas – one for big dogs and another for small dogs. It is also ADA-compliant, with parking for 15 vehicles (including designated handicapped parking), double-gated entrances, and a range of dog park amenities (concrete walkways, benches, water fountain, shade structure, bag stations, refuse containers). Open dawn to dusk, it provides a great space for canine and human exercise and social interaction – and clearly was a CPC-assisted project that did not bark up the wrong tree!”

From Mystic River Dog Park (Chelsea, MA), Chelsea Record September 2017

“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.

‘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.’”

From Green River Park (Greenfield, MA), City of Greenfield 2017

“As a Playful City, USA, Greenfield prides itself in its exceptional play spaces. Green River Park is no exception. Once an overlooked and underused facility, it is now a gem of the community after extensive renovations in the spring and summer of 2016. Renovations included a new playground, pavilion, picnic tables, benches, bike racks, basketball court, pickle ball court, paved parking area, and Dog Park. The park has truly transformed into an essential community gathering space.

Together, with the energy and leadership provided by these individuals Green River Park has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association’s ‘Design of Facility Agency Award’. The Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association’s Executive Board established this award as a way to recognize departments that create and renovate facilities that greatly enhance their community. Christy Moore, Recreation Director, accepted the award during the Awards Brunch at the 32nd Annual MRPA State Conference on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.

The entire park design and renovation was strongly influenced by the Citizens of Greenfield. Dating back to as far as the early 1990s, Greenfield Citizens have yearned for a Dog Park for their four-legged friends. In 2012 there became a renewed determination for the creation of a dog park. For many years, a dedicated group of individuals rallied and fundraised for their cause. They worked with the Greenfield Recreation Department and Recreation Commission to determine the best location for the park which was ultimately Green River Park. Not only was there strong support for a Dog Park, but there was also massive support to construct an outdoor pickle ball court which was also included in the park re-design.

Soon after confirming a location for the Paws Park, the Recreation Department was presented with a Grant opportunity from the Stanton Foundation, a foundation committed to the welfare of canines and strengthening the human/dog bond. At the same time, the opportunity also arose to apply for a PARC Grant. By combining the two grants, the Department was able to fund the project with a minimal amount of town funding. While balancing the timelines and requirements of each grant was extremely challenging, the result was the amazing park Greenfield has today. Without the combination of both grants, the park renovations would not have been possible.”

From Yarmouth Dog Park, Wicked Local August 2015

“The long-awaited Yarmouth Dog Park had its grand opening Saturday morning, attracting dozens of adults, children, and of course four-legged visitors to the Sandy Pond Recreation Area on Buck Island Road. The layout of the approximately 26,000-square-foot fenced-in area is the result of a concerted effort to welcome as many dogs as possible. ‘It’s broken up into three areas, a small dog area, a big dog area, and a training and shy dog area,’ said von Hone. That last section provides a calm place for high-strung dogs to play with their owners without being unduly stressed, and von Hone plans to take advantage of it himself. The park features not only plenty of room to run, but also shade trees, pools for dogs to cool off in on hot days, and special water fountains whose upper sections quench people’s thirsts while their lower sections supply water to dog bowls.

The town managed to defray the vast majority of those costs. The Friends raised some $19,000 for ongoing maintenance, and von Hone was active in seeking outside help. Two grants from a group called the Stanton Foundation totaled over $213,000, and two others from the Cape Cod Foundation added $4,000. To date, the town has spent about $25,500 of the $40,000 appropriated several years ago at Town Meeting, leaving the balance for maintenance and repairs. With the help of the grants, Yarmouth paid less than nine percent of the total cost of planning and construction.

‘Those that use the dog park are wonderful at self-policing, and educating other people,’ he said. ‘It creates its own community within the dog park. It’s absolutely wonderful.’”