Tails Were Wagging at Fitchburg Dog Park’s Grand Opening
FITCHBURG -- As her mountain cur-mix puppy Shadow got acclimated to his surroundings and dozens of other dogs dashed through grass and over obstacles, Jessica Wojick marveled at what the city of Fitchburg was able to accomplish.
She wasn’t alone in that mindset on Sunday morning, as the city held its grand opening for the Fitchburg Dog Park, located within the confines of Coolidge Park.
“I walked by this with Shadow the other day and I couldn’t wait,” Wojick said. “Something like this is such a valuable asset for a community. It’s a great social tool for dogs, and for the residents of the city, too.”
Nearly 100 dogs took to the almost-one-acre, fenced-in space for man’s best friend, on National Dog Day, no less. In addition to space for running, the park featured rock formations for climbing, several other obstacles and multiple watering areas.
The park itself is split in half by a fence, with large dogs on one side and pups under 30 pounds on the other.
Dog lovers, city officials and curious residents turned out en masse to check out the area. Dog-centric vendors -- as well as a few catering to humans -- lined the walkway leading to the park on a perfect August morning.
“It’s another wonderful amenity for the city and surrounding areas,” Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale said.
State Rep. Stephan Hay recalled being a Little League coach at the baseball fields at Coolidge Park and having games and practices interrupted by runaway dogs.
“It’s nice to have this here,” said Hay. “So many people bring their dogs to this park and it’s great for them to have a place to run around. It’s a valuable thing for the city.”
The park itself took three years to come to light, from conception to completion. And residents awaited it anxiously, as shown by the Facebook event for the opening being shared hundreds of times.
“I’m excited for it and I know a lot of other people are too,” City Councilor and Friends of the Fitchburg Dog Park President Sam Squailia said. “It’s been a lot of work to get to this point, but I’m happy it’s turned out as well as it has and that there are so many people here to enjoy this with us.”
The park was finished late last week, with the large shade shelter in the center of the area not arriving until the last minute.
“The project itself didn’t take too long, but we were left waiting on the shade shelter for the middle of the park,” said Mark Pelletier, co-owner of Pelletier Brothers, Inc., the contracting company in charge of building the space, and who attended the grand opening with his dog, Pepper. “That just got here a few days ago, but the rest of the job was pretty simple.”
Eric Hanson, a Fitchburg resident, brought his corgi, Finch, to see what the park had to offer.
“We’ve got a pretty good yard at home, but it’s nice to get Finch around other dogs once in a while,” Hanson said. “It’s a pretty cool spot.”
And in just one day, the park had already begun attracting people from out of town.
“It’s wonderful to have something like this here. It’s been so long since there’s been a dog park nearby,” said Westminster resident Katie Jackson, who brought her children and lab puppy, Jackson, to visit. “I think there is one in Groton, but this is much more convenient. We’ll definitely be coming back here on a regular basis.”