Dog Park Affiliation of Wareham sets $15,000 fundraising goal

By Meghan Neely | Jul 28, 2018
Photo by: Meghan Neely Volunteer Jacqui Nichols explains a conceptual design for Wareham's dog park during an informational meeting at the Wareham Free Library.

After several years of planning, the Dog Park Affiliation of Wareham (DPAW) has set a $15,000 fundraising goal to create a safe and enclosed space in town where man's best friend can play off leash.

These funds will be used to maintain the dog park after its completion and are crucial to securing a grant from the Stanton Foundation which has previously helped to construct dog parks in neighboring communities such as Mashpee and New Bedford.

"They were happy with our application," said DPAW volunteer Jacqui Nichols. "Now we just have to prove we can maintain the park after it's built."

The dog park was approved during the 2017 Town Meeting and received $20,000 in Community Preservation Committee funds to match 10 percent of the Stanton Grant.

DPAW currently has a 99-year lease with the town for a 7-acre property off Maple Springs Road near Atlantic Boats.

Conceptual plans for the area were revealed to the public on Saturday, July 28, at an informational meeting hosted by DPAW at the Wareham Free Library.

According to Nichols, DPAW only plans to develop one of the 7 acres for the dog park. The remaining land will be saved for future expansions, which would include recreational areas such as walking trails.

The dog park itself will feature two separate fenced-in areas for large and small dogs as well as a handicap accessible parking lot and concrete pavilion.

Once completed, Nichols said the park will fall under the jurisdiction of the Wareham Department of Natural Resources with Director Garry Buckminster serving as the park's liaison.

Dog owners who enter the park will do so at their own risk and assume all responsibility according to Nichols. Additional rules and regulations on the park will be put into place by the town.

Wareham currently has 1,000 registered dogs.

"There's no legal space for them to be off leash," Nichols said. "Even in the off season our beaches are closed to them."

As a part of their continued fundraising efforts, Nichols said DPAW will be looking to sniff out some volunteers.

"We can't do it all by ourselves," Nichols said.

DPAW will have a booth at the Onset Blues Festival on Aug. 4 to collect donations and answer questions from the community.

More information on the dog park and volunteer opportunities can be found online at

Comments (20)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 29, 2018 09:38

Hearing about this dog park over and over again is like hearing kids when they want something frivolous.  There have been several articles about it.  Some support it and some oppose it.  Here are my thoughts:


1. I can't believe that Community Preservation Funds were used. That just doesn't seem appropriate.


2. Our existing established parks and public places aren't being properly maintained due to funds.  Why add another?  How long before this goes to hell like the rest?


3. Remote parking lots in Wareham are used for drug deals and other illegal things.  Heck, even the ones in plain view like Besse's park are misused.  Why add another?  How long before this one is littered with nip bottles and needles?


4.  Is the town going to supply and maintain trash barrels and bags for dog poop?  I know we are a "carry-out" community now...without trash service on beaches.  Without barrels it will soon become a s**t hole in no time.  Folk will either leave the poop where Rover dropped it or they will bag it and fling the bags into the woods.  Will there be trash barrels and bags for poop?


5. What is the long-term plan?  The dollar amounts I read here are rather small.  What is going to keep this park going for the future?  Once the cheerleaders go home, what is this place going to be like in a year or two?


6.  Wareham is rural.  Most have a yard.  Why do we need a dog park?


7.  I like dogs.  I am not anti dog.



Posted by: shop247 | Jul 29, 2018 09:52

Once completed, Nichols said the park will fall under the jurisdiction of the Wareham Department of Natural Resources with Harbor Master Garry Buckminster serving as the park's liaison.

This concerns me. The WDNR is operated with our tax dollars.  This park should have absolutely NOTHING to do with the town.  As I have previously stated (several times) I don't think our struggling town should  share in the cost of ANYTHING (not a single penny) related to the park.... lighting, maintenance (mowing the lawn, plowing the parking area, cleaning the park...), garbage removal...and security...thugs use and sell drugs at the cemetery what's going to stop them from utilizing an out of the way dog park?.

Will dogs be required to be licensed and vaccinated to use the park?  How will this be verified?

This park has been on the radar for a while now and I still haven't found any mention here or on their website about costs.  Has there been/will there be oversight as to how the money collected is used?  Have their been tax filing as yet? If so, where can those documents be found?  I'm interested to see a viable business plan that addresses cost projections for setting up the park (parking, fencing, any land clearing...), cost projections (ideally for the next 3-5 years) for the services required to run a park..(insurance, maintenance, lighting, security...), financial projections (where is all this money going to come from, fundraising, grant request/acquisitions)...  A business plan should have been one of the first documents produced.

Is $15k for the creation of space or future maintenance?  If future maintenance, how long is the proposed $15k projected to last?  If for creating space, what will the $15k actually cover?

Every time I read an article about this park I have more questions than answers.

Bottom line, it is totally inappropriate for a single tax dollar to EVER be used for this park.  This town can barely maintain it's beaches, it's streets, it's empty properties, we're struggling...every department in town is struggling.

Unless this park can be totally self sufficient, and by that (if I haven't made myself clear) I mean run completely on it's own without a single tax dollar or town resource, this park should NOT be built.

Posted by: shop247 | Jul 29, 2018 10:06

Side note:  also not anti dog, I have 3.

And, good point WBTS, we are rural, how many people don't have yards?  How many people will actually utilize this park?  Why would CPA acts be used for a handful of people?  Why can't the CPA be used to clean or even dredge our beaches?  MANY more people use the beaches and they are a tourist attraction.  I'll have to do some research on my own question.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 29, 2018 11:44

Gary is one of the best people that this town has.  I know that he makes good decisions.  However, he is only one person.  This added responsibility takes away from much more important things that he does.  Keeping people safe on the water is 100 times more important than a dog park.


I am packing up right now for a day out on the boat.  I feel good knowing that he and his team are there in case something happens.  I mean after all, he is the Harbormaster.  Why should a dog issue at an unnecessary dog park occupy his time and staff's time and potentially delay their ability to respond to a much more significant issue involving marine safety?


Thanks Gary for all you do!


Posted by: brazz | Jul 29, 2018 11:52

Who is going to bring their dogs to a park full of irresponsible pit bull owners? As an owner of two dogs, I can only imagine that it will be full of people who should not be dog owners. I can already see the headlines of the horrors at this park.

Posted by: Rosebud | Jul 29, 2018 13:06

I agree with comments above.  None of the dog owners who let their dogs do their business on my corner of Swift’s Beach (and on our Beach itself!) are ever going to drive to a dog park on Maple Springs Road.

As for using public funds, the use of tax dollars for a park that only benefits approximately 1,000 of the residents is not right.

And yes, I’ve had 5 beautiful dogs of my own.

Posted by: shop247 | Jul 29, 2018 18:12

Brazz, where's you get your information that the park will be full of irresponsible pitbull owners?  The majority of people trying to establish the park are actually responsible adults and the majority of dogs involved are not pits.  Your comment was irresponsible and ignorant.  Your comment says WAY more about you than the people wanting a park for their furry friends.

Posted by: Curiouscat | Jul 29, 2018 19:13

I pretty much agree with all the comments here.  I love my dog more than most people and he will not be going to a dog park.  I have a fenced in yard and lot of trails through the woods.  A group of dogs is an accident waiting to happen.  By the way the comment about pit bulls, uncalled for.  There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.  And no, I do not own a pit.  Just seems like a huge waste of money that could be better used elsewhere.  Let's close the school and open a dog park.  Only in Wareham.

Posted by: sadie | Jul 30, 2018 05:25

town meeting voted for it and approved the park and the money from community preservation If you had objections you should have gone to the meeting and voted against the park. The yards in Onset are really small not big enough for a dog to run around. Community preservation money can't be used for the schools. These people are raising the money and get private funding for the park. I think using the dog park may be generational I have a dog won't be using the park but I think it is a nice idea and dogs like to run and socialize. Falmouth opened a park a few years ago and I haven't heard any negative things about that park.


Posted by: shop247 | Jul 30, 2018 06:25

Town meeting is a bit archaic, especially when you can "stack" the meeting to meet your specific goals.  Ideally, any decision that is going to affect our tax dollars and how they are spent should be ballot questions.  I personally work 3rd shift and cannot attend town meetings but I can make it to "town hall" to vote.  Many elderly residents won't drive at night so they don't attend town meetings but they do make it to "town hall" to vote.

I don't think curious cat was asking for CPA funds to help the schools, I think the remark was more sarcasm...  and makes a good point.  How can we use even a single tax dollar for a dog park when we're closing schools...

Posted by: cranky pants | Jul 30, 2018 07:32

Shop247 nailed it on the head with that entire post.

From stacked meetings, to having big ticket items be on paper ballot only... Right down to closing schools but spending fools.

This town is sinking from the top down.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Jul 30, 2018 07:38

It's so sad that so many other towns have well-managed parks-for dogs and people-but not Wareham. Falmouth's dog park budget for maintenance is about $10,000.00 annually, but maybe the Town keeps the lights on. Good lighting is the best way to deter nefarious activity, Wareham hasn't learned that yet.

And for the elitists, all of the thousands living in apartments, motels and mobile homes in this town do not have lovely fenced-in lawns.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jul 30, 2018 08:21

Why didn't the Town sell those 7 acres of just off the highway property and pay some bills?  I agree that the Town should have zero involvement in this project, no funds , no nothing. 

Posted by: shop247 | Jul 30, 2018 08:24

Lisa,  I think you misused the term elitist and if you don't think you did, then maybe you are the elitist.  I, for one, am an average joe as are most people here.  I work 60 hours a week to support my home and have for MANY years.  I do not have a fully fenced in yard for my 3 dogs but I have managed to fence off a small section of my yard so my dogs can play safely and quite honestly so I don't have to walk them 3 or 4 times a day.  I also have dogs that fit my lifestyle.  While, I am not lazy, I am not a super active person so I don't own dogs that requires a ton of physical activity.  I have lived in apartments and when I did, I either didn't have a pet or I had a pet that was conducive with apartment that if walked a few times a day had sufficient physical activity that he wasn't climbing the walls when I wasn't home.  As for the town, they're cutting services and positions so to use tax dollars to fund something unnecessary, that seems quite foolish.

Posted by: joycebakes | Jul 30, 2018 10:19

O my goodness!  The park was voted and is a done deal.  Doesn't anyone have any constructive comments???

I too have a dog and a large yard.  But when I lived in shell point I did not have more than a postage stamp yard.

Too many dogs in town are not socialized.  This does NOT ean your dog plays with the neighbor's dog.  Socializing a dog includes teaching him or her how to behave when coming across unknown dogs.

And I doubt if someone has a misbehaving 'pit bull' or other dog they would bother to bring it to the park.  And I have met many a misbehaving small dog too...


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 30, 2018 10:37

Onset-   As Shop described, he/she chose dogs accordingly and manages those dogs within their abilities and living conditions.  That is the definition of being responsible.


This is probably going to get me labeled as an elitist...but here goes:     I'll give you mobile homes.  They have small yards. long as they aren't subsidized.  Anybody that's poor and on welfare shouldn't have a dog.  It's about priorities and being responsible.  A dog is expensive!  Food and Vet expenses alone.  Why should I pay for that?  They can get a dog once they rise above their issues and get out of subsidized apartment.  Motels, really?  That struck a nerve!  Nobody should be living in a motel...period!  Living in a motel with a dog????  Can you see it now?  The greasy undesirables in their wife beater tshirts that I see loitering around the Silverlake are all going to bring their dogs to this!  Not unless they hand out nips with the poop bags.

Posted by: shop247 | Jul 30, 2018 10:45

The Dog Park was approved to receive CPA funds and land from the town, not tax dollars.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 30, 2018 11:31

CPA funds are generated the same way as property taxes.  CPA funds are tax dollars based on 3% per thousand.  It's just a tax with a specific use such as restoring historic buildings, purchasing environmentally sensitive land, people parks, etc. CPA funds are tax dollars.

Posted by: shop247 | Jul 30, 2018 11:48

WBTS, thanks, I should have clarified my statement as I was referring to tax dollars that are used to run our town (pay for out employees, services....).  I supposed I could have referred to it as the general tax fund since the CPA tax can never be used to fund a position or service...


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 30, 2018 12:10

Shop-I figured you knew.  I was thinking of other readers because I know that some are confused by CPA funds.  There are misconceptions about them being some kind of free money from grants and such.

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