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Year In Review: Park And Bark Opens To Four-Legged Friends



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A new addition to Newtown’s outdoor recreation has dogs and owners filling the new Park and Bark dog park. The off-leash facility celebrated its grand opening in May. Following many months of planning and fundraising, the park on May 3 held its ribbon cutting at the recently constructed facility on Old Farm Road. Since then, dogs and owners have enjoyed exercising, agility equipment, and water features at the site.

Based on feedback she had heard from the community prior to the opening, Assistant Director of Recreation RoseAnn Reggiano said, “People can’t wait. Cannot wait.”

Park construction, which started in mid-2013, includes benches, a fountain, water features, agility equipment, and more. According to NewtownParkandBark.org, the mission “is to create a well-designed dog park for the enjoyment of Newtown residents as well as to continue fundraising events to provide the resources for ongoing maintenance of the park.”

The website also answers the question of why Newtown needs a dog park: “There are currently 1,850 dogs registered in Newtown. Today, dogs are prohibited from entering town parks, and must be leashed on all public property. Official dog parks offer residents an opportunity to exercise and socialize their dogs in a safe and secure park setting, while getting to know other dog lovers in town.”

The dog park also has its own “special angel,” the site states.

Newtown Park & Bark was honored, according to the website, to have been chosen for contributions made in the memory of Olivia Rose Engel. Olivia was one of the children killed on 12/14.

Regarding a final budget of $225,000, which came from fundraising, beneficiaries, and budget money, Ms Reggiano said, “We got everything we wanted” for the park and its features.

“I can’t believe it’s really happening,” she had said of the project, which started with a modest budget request of $50,000 for fencing. Planning and fundraising began in earnest in 2009.

With a large crowd of humans and canines gathered together on Saturday, May 3, the park celebrated its opening. Cleo, a canine companion to Parks & Recreation Assistant Director Rose Ann Reggiano, had the honor of “cutting” the ribbon to Park and Bark, after an opening ceremony was held.

Once the ribbon fell, Ms Reggiano announced, “The park is open!”

Assistant Director of Recreation RoseAnn Reggiano showed her dog Cleo where to “cut” the ribbon to Park and Bark, the town’s new off-leash dog park, during its soft opening on Saturday, May 3.
A sign at the end of Old Farm Road below the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard announces the location of Newtown’s new Park and Bark dog park, which opened in May.
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