There is not as much intrigue and deception as Watergate, but the North End has its own literal ‘gate’ controversy and its just as dirty … again, literally dog crap dirty. The deed is done on Richmond Street in the little park that has been used for years as an unofficial dog park, near the overpass to the tunnel entrance. MassPike owns the property and is planning on removing the gate to discourage dog owners from allowing their dogs to roam unleashed in the space.
Angry dog owners have raised the profile of the planned action which was picked up by yesterday’s Boston Herald. Fredda Hollander and Bill Lee point out that other parts of the neighborhood will suffer including tot lots, parks and playfields. The feeling is that most owners won’t let their dog unleashed in the Richmond St. space anymore because of the close proximity of traffic, so they will infiltrate the neighborhood’s other spaces. They also argue that dog owners have helped the area by fixing it up a bit and guarding against drug dealing and other criminal acts because of their consistent traffic in and out of the park. Click here to read Fredda’s complete letter (pdf).
Abutters have a different view, citing owners that don’t pick up after their dogs which then attracts rats. Cirace’s liquor store is one of the abutters in favor of removing the gate. Supporters of the MassPike action also cite the City’s leash law, that requires dogs to be on a leash at all times when not on your own property. The text seems to exclude a “secure fenced yard” though that was likely intended for a backyard.
Some of you may remember that there used to be children’s play equipment in an adjacent section, but it was in disrepair and removed. It is unclear whether MassPike intends to fix up that part of the space.
State Representative Aaron Michlewitz has asked for a public meeting on the issue. City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina is asking for a more comprehensive plan for dog parks in the community. Both have been inundated with emails and calls.
Editor’s Take: Keep the gate and make it a clean, designated dog park that both dog owners and abutters would be proud to have in the neighborhood. Dog parks have been successful in other Boston neighborhoods and it would also help the rest of the neighborhood parks. Obviously, dog owners need to do their part by picking up and following the leash law. And let’s also do something with the other part of the lot that has fallen into disrepair, such as replacing the jungle gym and making it another tot lot.