SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The municipality’s four-legged friends and their human companions could soon have a park of their very own.

At a meeting March 6, South Plainfield Borough Councilwoman Christine Faustini presented preliminary plans for a dog park at the site of the former suburban bus company off New Market Avenue. Additionally, the borough is also considering options to create a path to and additional parking for the Ponytail fields at the site.

“I hope the council supports my proposal,” said Faustini, who chairs the borough’s recreation committee. “A dog park is long overdue, and I think this park would be the perfect addition to the borough.”

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Back in January, while meeting with the borough’s recreation department, talks of a way to clean up and utilize the former bus depot property on New Market Avenue began. Although one option initially considered was to utilize the site to develop additional fields at Ponytail Park, experts state the area contains wetlands and would therefore not be feasible.

Faustini then met with Kevin Hughes of the Recreation Department and Len Miller, Engineer and supervisor of the borough’s department of public works (DPW), to consider other possibilities. “We put our heads together and came up a dog park, which is something that has been discussed many times in the past. It would fit very well there,” said Faustini.

The proposed dog park would be approximately 250 feet by 135 feet with two fenced in and grassed sections – one for smaller dogs and another for larger ones. There is also discussion of adding a 6-foot wide walkway around the area and, to satisfy the recreation department’s need for additional parking at the fields, the preliminary proposal also calls for adding numerous parking spaces.

“Our hope to also create a path, as short as possible, from Ponytail (Park to) the parking and the dog park,” Faustini said.

According to Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Jr., a dog census conducted by the borough about eight years ago determined that almost one-third of the municipality’s households have a dog. “This is something we have definitely discussed in the past and something that is popular throughout the county,” said Bengivenga during last week’s meeting. “It is a good thing to have for the community.”

Mayor Matt Anesh said while he realizes many residents would like to see South Plainfield have a dog park, there are some who may not favor the selected site. “We have looked at other areas but, based on the research, this location is probably the best fit,” said Anesh, adding, “The good thing about this site is that it is somewhat remote. It is close enough to neighborhoods over there but there is also a good enough of a buffer.”

As it currently stands, said DPW Supervisor Miller, work is going to be done by the Department of Public Works to clean and grade the site as much as possible, including the removal of debris that needs to be trucked out. 

“A dog park sounds good,” said Councilman Joe Wolak during the meeting before pausing for a moment and adding, “I don't have a dog right now, but maybe I will get one.”

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