By Adam Swift
In the spring, a proposal to install a dog run in a section of the historic burial ground of the First Church Unitarian Universalist generated controversy at a Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) meeting. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is included in the Monument Square Historic District.
But at the JPA’s Monday night meeting, as the dog run nears the end of a six-month trial run, it seems as though the dogs and their owners have been well behaved.
“The status on the dog park is much as it was the last time I was with you,” said Dennis O’Brien, the co-chair of the church’s governing board.
O’Brien brought the details of the six-month pilot proposal, which will include a report at the end of the trial, to the JPA in April. The dog run consists of a 60 x 90 foot area of the burial ground, fenced-in with a four-foot, wire-coated fence, with access only for members of a dog group who have gone through an orientation and who have agreed to abide by a set of rules and conduct.
O’Brien said that the dog run area is placed 10 feet away from the nearest burial markers and that use of the area will be limited to no more than five dogs at a time. The enclosure is open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening.
Dogs are removed if they are barking and disturbing the neighbors, and the gate to the enclosure is locked when it is not in use.
“I have not received any complaints or issues around it,” O’Brien said at Monday night’s meeting.
The people from the dog group will be gathering Saturday near the dog park for leaf raking and some other light landscaping maintenance, O’Brien said. Part of the deal with the church, he said, was that the group would either make a financial contribution or perform service at the burial ground to help with the upkeep.
“If it continues to go well, we will get the report together and start working on that after Thanksgiving,” said O’Brien. “At the end of the year, the six-month report will be ready and I will be sharing that with you.”
JPA Chair Kay Matthews asked if there were any issues with too many dogs being on the property at once.
“Not that I’m aware of,” said O’Brien. “Every time I go down there, there’s only one or two people, and sometimes, there’s no one using it all.”