GARDINER — An attempt to enter a competition to win a dog park failed when city councilors refused to commit to a location.

The city had been part of the first round of voting for the Bark for Your Park contest sponsored by PetSafe, a manufacturer of electronic pet training products based in Knoxville, Tenn. PetSafe offers several different grants for dog parks, one for $100,000 and two for $20,000.

But councilors won’t pick a spot, so Gardiner isn’t eligible for the second round of voting in the contest.

“The city needs to research the issue more, hear from the public and weigh the pros and cons,” said City Manager Scott Morelli. “I know there is a sentiment amongst some of the community that we need a dog park. And that is why council authorized us to submit a letter of support, but without committing to a specific location as yet.”

The Barks in the Park Committee requested a letter of support from city councilors and asked for a commitment to allow a city-owned lot on School Street to become a public dog park, pending approval by the Planning Board. Clark said the lot next to The Common is just one of the places under consideration.

Morelli said the council is interested in the idea of a dog park somewhere in Gardiner, but is not yet ready to commit to a location.

Jess Clark, who organizes Gardiner’s annual Barks in the Park event to raise money for a dog park, said supporters will continue to try to find land for a park and enter the contest again next year.

Clark said public support is needed for the dog park to become a reality.

“Dog parks provide a place for community members to gather,” she said. “It’s a social aspect like any other park. It’s also a safe place for dogs to play. It’s just fun to go to a dog park and let the dogs play. That’s what they enjoy doing.”

This year’s Barks in the Park will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 15 at the Waterfront Park.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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