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Fairgrounds Park approved to host new Hagerstown dog park

April 23, 2013

Fairgrounds Park will be the location of the city’s first off-leash dog park following  a 4-1 vote Tuesday by the Hagerstown City Council.

Additionally approved was the allocation of $40,000 in city excise taxes for the construction of the park, the other $20,000 for which will be raised by the Dog Park Task Force, which council commissioned in October to find a location for the project.

Conditions of the park’s approval included that the additional $20,000 be raised by the task force and used for amenities including lights, security cameras and benches; the city must also relocate the basketball court currently at Fairgrounds Park to a spot just north of the dog park; hours of operation will be consistent with the policies adopted by the mayor and council and the park will open on June 29.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh was the only council member to vote against the park, citing concerns she raised at an April 2 meeting at City Hall when she noted Fairgrounds Park as a “very active park.”

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Nine citizens, some of whom doubled as task force members, spoke during the public comment of the Hagerstown City Council meeting, urging the council to vote in favor of the  dog park.

“The real question is, is it a dog park or is it a park for people with dogs?” Mayor David S. Gysberts joked amid the advocating for the park’s approval. “Just a rhetorical question.”

City Council had previously reached a consensus on the site of the dog park at the April 16 meeting.

Maria Mestre, chairperson of the six-member task force, had detailed a concept costing $56,000 at Fairgrounds Park at an April 2 meeting at City Hall. The concept plan showed a small-dog area of .70 acres and a large-dog area of 1.06 acres.

— Holly Shok

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