Local resident starts dog park fundraiser

A local Jamaica Plain resident has started a fundraising drive to raise money for a potential dog park in the neighborhood.

“I think we need to strike while the iron is hot. I know these kinds of projects take time, but time passes a lot quicker in dog years,” said Eva Kaniasty, the organizer of the fundraiser.

The dearth of dog parks in Jamaica Plain has long been a point of contention. An informal off-leash dog park was used at the Beecher Street Park until the City put an end to that in 2016 after complaints from neighbors. At that time, City Councilor Matt O’Malley wrote a letter to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) urging that a space in the Southwest Corridor Park be found for an alternative site for a dog park.

DCR first proposed a dog park at Anson Street, but that project faced stiff opposition and the idea was eventually nixed. The department then came back with three different proposals over the summer: Site A at Green Street and Oakdale/Lawndale Terrace, Site B opposite Evy Tea on Amory Street, and Site C at Stonybrook Station adjacent to Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. DCR recently said it is moving forward with Site A after hearing feedback from the community. DCR’s decision drew a mixed response from the community.

Kaniasty, who is in favor of the Site A proposal, said the money raised would go to that park.

“That is the primary intent, at least for the foreseeable future,” she said. “Should the project not move forward for some reason, the money could be used for park amenities such as water fountains or dog poop bag dispensers.”

She said she started the fundraiser because she didn’t want to miss the holiday giving season and that there will likely be a more official fundraiser later.

“You can never raise too much money, but at this point I’m just looking for some seed money to set up the Friends group officially, so I’ll be happy with a thousand,” said Kaniasty.

Asked if she has discussed the fundraiser with DCR, Kaniasty replied, “I talked with Jenny Norwood from DCR a couple months ago, and she told me about the DCR Matching Funds program, which provides a match for contributions from the community. At that time the site had not been selected, and as I understand it, there is no budget estimate for Site A yet. I have not talked to them since the site was selected.”

For more information about the fundraiser, visit bit.ly/2KS5lX6.

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