The City is reviewing the use of the Beecher Street Play Area as a community-organized dog park after receiving complaints from neighbors. The review could spell the end to one of the few places Jamaica Plain residents can release their dogs off-leash.
The Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services will host a meeting on Mon. Jan. 11 regarding the Beecher Street Play Area at 20 Beecher St and its unofficial use as a dog park.
The park is on city-owned land, which people use as an informal dog park, according to Ryan Woods, spokesperson for BPRD.
Despite a strong demand, JP dog owners have limited areas to have their dogs off-leash. Besides the Beecher Street area, residents have a dog park at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) at 350 S. Huntington Ave., which is opened during limited hours. The low number of dog parks has led to conflict between park users and dog owners who have their dogs off-leash at undesignated areas.
The City has said it is up to the community if the number of off-leash dog parks is to increase. The City Council passed an ordinance in 2004—renewed in 2010—that sets up the procedures for a resident or community group to create a dog park. That ordinance can be found at cityofboston.gov/parks.
The City is holding the Jan. 11 meeting to gauge concern in the community about the current uses of the 20 Beecher St. space and to discuss potential solutions to meet the needs of the community.
According to Woods, there was a fence put up in the park without permission from the City. BPRD has received numerous calls and complaints about the fence and loud noise in the park, according to Woods. He also said that people apparently made their own sign advertising the area as a dog park, which was not approved or put up by the City.
“It looks like JP residents have taken over the space as a dog recreation park,” said Woods.
Woods said that BPRD has received complaints from abutters about loud noises, and that dog parks are not supposed to have as many abutters as this park does, since it is located in a densely populated space.
Woods said that if the City was to officially designate the area as a dog park, the community would have to participate in a process of discussion and feedback.
“The idea about this meeting is to get feedback from the community,” said Woods, “We’re not saying the dog park is a good or a bad thing, we’re just opening up a discussion.”
The meeting on Jan. 11 will be held at Connolly Branch Library at 433 Centre St. from 6-7:30 p.m. For more information, call 617-961-3034.
[Peter Shanley contributed to this article.]
[This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Ryan Woods.]