GARDINER — Bill Chabot tossed a ball across the dog park, and his 10-month-old German shepherd Ruger dug in his toenails, spraying dirt behind him as he galloped intently for the ball. 

For Bill and his wife, Beckie Chabot, the new dog park, located just down the street, is exactly what they — and Ruger — need. 

“We have almost no yard to speak of,” said Bill Chabot, explaining that they used to take Ruger to Augusta’s park.

“Lots of people in Gardiner have dogs,” he said, “but not a lot of space.” 

Ruger was one of about 20 dogs and their 50 people who were in the Gardiner Dog Park after its ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Ten years ago, residents expressed a desire to have the park when they had the chance to tell their leaders what mattered to them during the Heart and Soul Project. 

“There are so many dog lovers in the area who enjoy off-leash fun,” said Shaughnessey McArthur, a member of the Gardiner Dog Park Committee.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jessica Clark, the chair of the committee, said park users can expect gradual improvements at the park, like obstacles for agility. 

The new dog park is at 563 Water St. beside Cobbossee Stream, with parking just off the main road. The park is surrounded by about 1,000 feet of chain link fencing.

Inside a double gate, a stone path winds down a hill where the park opens. It is enough room for dogs race and burn off energy. 

Proceeds from Barks in the Park, an annual festival for dog lovers, along with private donations have supported the park, which cost about $30,000 Clark said. The property was already owned by the City of Gardiner, and no local tax money funded the new park. 

Barks in the Park was scheduled to take place Saturday in Waterfront Park, however, Clark said the committee decided to cancel the event due to weather. The weekend forecast predicted on Friday called for rain and high winds, the remnants of Hurricane Dorian moving up the coast.

“The vendors were unable to make it to the rain date for the event on Sunday,” Clark said Friday afternoon after the cancellation.

Though it was not raining during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park, it was windy. A bald eagle flying over Cobbossee Stream flew fast in a wind gust of wind over the dog park. 

Joshua Chamberlin and Adrien Lemar of Hallowell travel frequently to dog parks with their dog Barsky, a labrador-husky mix who is a dwarf. They do not, however, visit their own city’s park, though they live just blocks from it. 

“It is not a clean place,” said Lemar. “There are plans to maintain this park (in Gardiner).”

Proceeds form Barks in the Park will continue to fund the maintenance of the park, and volunteers will provide the manpower. Though the park is city-owned, it will not be supported with tax dollars. 

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