WARETOWN, NJ – Ocean Township Mayor Ken Baulderstone isn’t the first elected official to have a pet project. However, in this case, his endeavor takes on a literal meaning. Baulderstone eagerly awaits the completion of a dog park in Waretown.
When someone takes on a pet project, it’s generally because they have a personal interest or agenda. In this case, it’s quite the contrary. The local mayor doesn’t share his home with any canine companions. In fact, he’s allergic to dogs.
According to Baulderstone, the Township initially contacted Ocean County officials with hopes of opening a dog park in Wells Mills Park. When the County opted instead for a Tuckerton site, Township officials began steps to use a location that the Township owns itself.
“A lot of our residents like the idea of taking their dogs off-leash so they can run around a bit,” said Baulderstone. “The advantage of the chosen location is that it’s far away enough from homes. The barking won’t bother anyone.”
Baulderstone first announced the opening of the dog park in September of last year. Progress has already started in the area behind the tennis courts in Waretown Memorial Recreational Park. The plan is to keep tree removal to a minimum. Two orange signs mark the designated location.
With a targeted opening date in the spring, the Ocean Township Dog Park will be available to dogs and their human companions from dawn to dusk. While some other facilities use swipe cards for patron access, this won’t be the case in Waretown. The dog park will be open to everyone who wishes to use it.
Like other municipalities, Ocean Township is part of the Ocean County Joint Insurance Fund (JIF). They have provided Township authorities with the rules and regulations that need to be placed on the entrance signs.
“The mayor went out and did a lot of research by visiting different dog parks,” shared Diane Ambrosio, Township Administrator/Township Clerk. “I’m very grateful for the information he brought back to us.”
Plans are to enclose the area with six-foot fences and divide it equally into two parts. Large dogs would go off-leash on one side, smaller, on the other.
Some discussion arose regarding locking the dog park on off-hours. “I think it should be locked because there are no lights,” shared Dr. Ben LoParo, Committeeman.
LoParo suggested that the police department could open and close the park. His concerns related to liability issues because the area is fenced off. The Committee will discuss the matter and come up with a decision at a later time.
Committee members want the public to know there’s no drinking water on the premises. Puppy owners may wish to bring along a collapsible dog bowl. After all, hydration is vital for anyone who runs.