Madison Dog Park will be open soon at Salt Meadow Park

MADISON — Dogs who love to live life off-leash, enjoying the fresh air and playing with other canines now have a local place to call their own.

The dog park at Salt Meadow Park, 1362 Boston Post Road, Madison, will have its grand opening on Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The total cost of the project was about $40,000, with $20,000 coming from the city and $20,000 from American Rescue Plan money, according to Madison First Selectman Peggy Lyons.

“As a dog owner, I have been looking forward to this project for many years,” said Alex Wetmore, chair of the Salt Meadow Park Advisory Committee.

The ½ acre lot, immediately to the left of the park entrance, was chosen after a four-year search.

The park’s surface is “a strong, resilient turf with a sandy base that will promote drainage,” said Austin Hall, director of Beach, Recreation and Senior Services. “We trust it will be a good base for the dogs,” he said.

Entire area is surrounded by a 5 foot cedar split level fence with welded wire mesh behind.

“It’s beautiful,” Hall said. “I particularly love the gates, how the fence contractor designed the gates with the ‘X’ in the middle. He looks very sharp and it suits him well.”

“As it gets older, it will look more like the poles that are all over the park,” he said.

There will be no separate areas for small dogs and large dogs.

“I know people are concerned about bringing their small dogs when there is no definition in between,” said Wetmore, who has a small rescue dog.

“We are going to have hours of small dog barking,” he said.

On Wednesday, May 3, three 15-foot tall trees were planted inside the fence. They include an American sycamore, Scarlett oak, and black gum, also known as tupelo.

The trees were chosen with input from former city tree warden Bob Kuchta, an arborist and master gardener.

“They are native to the area and are shade trees,” Hall said.

An additional 18 plantings will be made outside of the fence facing Route 1 “so it will block part of the fence from the road so it’s easier to see while driving,” Hall said.

Just before the grand opening, on National Giving Day, Saturday, May 20, the Rotary Club of Madison will carry out this planting project.

All plantings will be in keeping with others in the park, including red cedars, myrtle, and several other drought and salt tolerant species.

In addition to the trees within the area, there are four benches custom built by Madison Girl Scout Troop #60378 for their Silver Award.

“I am very excited that Madison dog owners now have a dedicated space to gather and enjoy their pets in a safe, beautiful and dog-friendly environment,” Lyons said.

“My dog ​​Dash and I hope to attend the opening on May 20,” he said.

Hall is excited “to finally have a dog park where residents can bring their dogs and dogs can play together.”

Plus, he said, “it will hopefully prevent people from walking their dog on athletic fields, which is in the city ordinance that no dogs are allowed on any athletic fields or on the beach and we fight that on a daily basis.”

“Now there is a place where they can go, legally, and exercise their dog, which everyone wants to do in a safe place,” he said.

Wetmore echoed this.

“Honestly, I’ve always been concerned about the number of off-leash dogs in Salt Meadow, so I think it’s going to be a huge plus for the town and the community to have this designated area,” Wetmore said.

The dog park isn’t just for Madison residents and their dogs, everyone is welcome.

“We’re not checking IDs at the dog park,” Hall said, laughing.

“The people at the dog parks are very friendly,” he said. “They all have a common goal, to exercise and socialize their dogs in a safe environment.”

“When you have groups of people who want the same thing, they all get along very well,” he said. “Everyone is invited”.