I was president of the Friends of Easton Dog Park from 2014 to 2018, and our group worked with the town to plan a dog park. Progress stopped when the town council insisted on holding all the dog park money we were raising. As a 501(c)(3) organization, we could not legally give the money to the town unless it directly purchased items needed for the building of the park. The town asked us to disband. Our lawyer advised us that it would not be a wise idea to disband because we would have no voice in how the dog park money was raised, spent or allocated. Additionally, we would not have a say on how the park was built or how long we would have to raise money. We, ultimately, had to answer to the IRS, and they would make sure we were spending the money on the dog park. But that was not good enough for the town council.
I feel that any town should be proud and pleased to have citizens willing to fundraise for the betterment of their community. I left feeling that the town did not trust us, and that they really didn’t want a dog park. As it stands, the town has the land and the necessary architectural drawings for a park located in RTC park. If they wanted a dog park, they would have acted on this by now.
When RTC park was established, the Easton’s usage survey for the park stated that a dog park was one of the main citizens’ requests. Four Paws organization spent over five years trying to build a dog park, and Friends of Easton Dog Park tried for over four years. There is definitely interest in having a dog park in the Easton area.
If the town was listening and responsive to its citizens, we would have a dog park by now. I suggest if Easton citizens want a dog park that they flood the town council with email requests and also flood the town council meetings with residents demanding to have them start fundraising for the park. They have the architectural drawings and land already. What is the town council’s problem?