HALLOWELL — The City Council on Monday night unanimously authorized City Manager Nate Rudy to reopen the dog park at Vaughn Field, after a cleanup event scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 20.

The council’s endorsement included a provision the dog park be reopened — possibly this month — only with the Public Works Department’s blessing.

Councilor Kate Dufour presented a report Monday recommending the park be reopened after the cleanup event organized by Councilor Maureen Aucoin. Dufour said those events could be semiannual.

“There was a general consensus that if we hit the reset button, we could instill some pride in that dog park,” Dufour said. “I would recommend that we do, indeed, sanction that type of a cleanup event.”

Aucoin is expected to meet with city officials later this month to discuss what should be done at the park. Officials discussed the possibility of removing a layer of topsoil and the root systems of overgrown vegetation at the park.

Dufour also recommended a council committee or volunteer group identify a dog park “point person,” and create a process for addressing issues at the park.


She also recommended a city committee develop a plan to acquire and installing as many as three dog waste stations before April 1, 2020. Dufour’s report said one of the stations, which include plastic bags and small trash cans, would be $200 to $400.

Councilor Patrick Wynne said it was his preference that all of the recommendations be put in place before the park reopened.

The dog park’s condition was brought up in a July discussion about trash cans at city parks. Public works previously provided trash cans at Granite City Park and Vaughn Field, but removed them in July 2018 because they were being misused.

Public Works Director Chris Buck said in July that trash cans tend to overflow and create eyesores on weekends, when Public Works employees were not on duty. Further, the trash can near the dog park at Vaughn Field could be a health hazard because it was covered in dog waste.

On Sept. 19, residents and city officials met at City Hall to discuss solutions to the problem of dog feces at the park. Residents supported providing bags and a small trash can at the park. Resident Bill Schecher said the smaller can would also discourage people from disposing of household waste.

City Council candidate Matt Radasch said at the Sept. 19 meeting that when dog owners are renewing their pets’ licenses, they could be asked to donate to a fund for dog park maintenance.


Dufour said there are at least 300 registered dogs in Hallowell. She said if all of those people gave $5 to the fund, that $1,500 could be used to buy the dog waste stations.

Councilor Kara Walker called the voluntary fund a “great idea.”

Dog feces are prohibited on or near public property in Hallowell according to Hallowell’s Code of Ordinance and the city’s dog park rules.

Councilor Mike Frett, who was part of the Friends of Vaughn Field group that helped develop the park, said the facility was never intended to be maintained by the Public Works Department.

He said the group thought a volunteer group would maintain the park.

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