After an almost 18 months effort, local residents David Ferraris and Noah Matten have reasons to cheer that their volunteer labor has successfully brought a new dog park to Easton in 2023.
Their journey began with a conversation over beers, where they discussed the lack of dog-friendly parks in the area. They soon learned that the Friends of the Easton Dog Park had tried to establish a park in the past, but it had fallen through. Undeterred, Noah and David took up the cause and started a new effort to bring a dog park to the town.
Their journey was challenging, as they had to navigate through various town boards, including the parks and recreation board and the planning commission, to get approval for the park.
Despite initial resistance from some and concerns about the park’s size and maintenance, the dog guys persevered, eventually convincing the Council to designate an unactivated parcel of land as a dog park in downtown Easton. The Brewers Lane site was chosen for its central location and potential to spur commerce and socialization among dog owners and their dogs.
The process was long and challenging, but ultimately rewarding for the dog guys, who saw their hard work pay off. The park is expected to provide a much-needed space for dog owners to socialize and exercise their pets.
It also came with a surprise ending. After initially thinking that the dog park would need to be funded exclusively by private donations, their allies at Friends of the Easton Dog Park worked with the Council to dedicate some $500,000 from a city bond for parks and open space would be allocated to the project rather than having to find private funding.
Noah and David’s dedication and persistence in bringing a dog park to Easton should inspire others who seek to make positive changes in their communities.
Letters to Editor
marian murphy says
I have so many good memories of spending time in my local dog park with my Boarder Terrier Nick! It’s amazing how well behaved the different breeds of dogs are, old, young and in between. We “owners” sit on the benches along the fence and over time develop friendships with other owners. Or we get up for awhile and throw a ball and see what happens. Who runs after it or who wants to play with you. And as David and Noah said, we keep track of our pets and when we sit the familiar squat, we run over and collect it and dump into the containers in the area. It’s a total win-win so thank you guys for the hours you spent making this dog park happen.
Eva M. Smorzaniuk MD says
Bravo to you two for persevering! This should have been an amenity established in Easton a long time ago. There will be many happy dog owners who will appreciate the time and effort it took to accomplish this.
Les Cummings says
Congratulations Friends of the Easton Dog Park, Noah and David!
Easton dog owners and their furry friends will get great enjoyment with the Dog Park. I live in Edmond, Oklahoma and the city opened our 4-acre “off-leash only” dog park around 19 years ago. Each of our several rescue dogs always looked forward to visiting the dog park. At times if they managed to escape our fenced back yard, we knew exactly where to go look for them, yep, the Edmond Dog Park which was less than 1/2 mile from our home. This will be a terrific addition for the city of Easton!
Richard Marks says
I am pleased to learn Noah and David’s efforts have paid off, but not pleased on the location. Space is very limited and the access poor so I hope the town looks at the logistics before finalizing the plan. The location chosen is closer to the commercial center of Easton so more likely the pet owners will be driving to the park, not walking. Anyone who has driven on North Street from Aurora to use that egress as a shortcut to town and avoid the bottlenecked corner at Goldsborough and Harrison (long in need of better signage for pedestrians)is aware and leery of the blind southwest corner of the Spring Hill Cemetery. Checkout the scraped bollard. If it were notched for each mishap there I suspect it would be fairly well chiseled. Other accesses to the park are not much better coming off and on to Washington Street from Brewer’s Lane. Will the town need to pay a traffic guard full time there as they do on Saturday morning’s for the farmer’s market? Other egresses are through Turner’s Lane and Thorogood Lane, neither of which are wide enough for two cars to pass. I am reminded of the closure of a section Washington Street during COVID. Quite similar to this situation insomuch it was an excellent idea, but clearly poorly planned. We can do better!!!
Calvin Yowell says
FOR THE RECORD: ABOUT THE EASTON DOG PARK
Messrs. David Ferraris and Noah Matten expended a significant amount of time working with the Town of Easton to commit parcels of Town owned property on Brewers Lane for development of a public dog park. With support from a local architect and a surveyor, a conceptual drawing of the potential park was created. Then an agreement was reached with the Town to proceed with three equal funding elements: Town, “Friends for Easton Dog Park”, and Grants. The above actions culminated in December 2021. – By this time the “Friends” had a Facebook page with over 300 followers/supporters, advocating for a dog park in Easton.
At the beginning of 2022 both David and Noah took on new jobs and commutes. Neither had the time or energy to continue the necessary work on the dog park project. None of the 300 Facebook followers stepped up to guide the project any further. Some of the hard work that would be necessary included: writing grant requests (no guarantees), establishing a donation collection process, and either entering an agreement with a 501C3 as collection agent or establishing one’s own 501C3 corporation.
To set the record straight and stick to the facts: in mid-February 2023, some friends asked me to get involved in the project because of my involvement with previous efforts for establishing a park. After reviewing background materials and current status, I conducted interviews with Mayor Willey and senior staff personnel and with each of the other 2 mayoral candidates. The meetings were very beneficial and all 3 parties expressed interest in moving forward with the project, committing to fully fund the expenses, and to manage both the construction process and ongoing operations. In early March, 2023, the Town of Easton verbally committed to use current fiscal year funds for development.
To assist getting the project up and running, I was asked by Mayor Willey to get preliminary estimates for fencing, laying sod or installing artificial turf, operational support equipment, and amenities for dogs and owners. Concurrently, Town staff personnel were to start reviewing infrastructure requirements for water, sewer, electricity, etc.
One of the bigger issues encountered was verification of the Town parcel boundaries relative to the conceptual drawing. Ultimately, it was determined that the drawing illustrated an overall size that was roughly 15 to 20 percent greater than the actual parcels. This resulted in multiple iterations of the estimates because I originally based cost estimates on the drawing rather than the property records and the new “Eye Over Easton” system that visualizes parcel boundaries.
Now the project is underway and the Town’s project manager has arranged for an onsite, survey, initiated contact with Easton Utilities, and has begun assessment of sod vs. turf. Within another month or so, one can expect to see preliminary preparation of the site and a goal for completing construction in the Fall (possibly by Waterfowl Festival).
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to move the dog park project forward and look forward to seeing it available for our Easton citizens. Now I need to get myself a dog.