Letter: You Should Support a Dog Park in Jamaica Plain

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We are your neighbors. We all share the same love for Jamaica Plain and Boston
and we also have dogs. For over 20 years, the dog community in JP has tried again and again to have dog parks built in the neighborhood but each time we get close, the project is shutdown.

As urban dwellers, we rarely have fenced yards and much of the parkland restricts dog
play. The need for a safe place to exercise our pups has only grown over time and now we are at a crossroads where the city has finally agreed to consider a designated section of the Flaherty Playground redesign to include a small dog park.

While this park may not be sufficient for all the needs of JP dogs, it is a strong start and we applaud Mayor Wu’s administration for opening the possibility.

Recently, there was a community meeting to discuss the dog park inclusion and we had [approximately] 78 neighbors who participated. While there was a strong showing of dog park supporters, there were also some who were opposed.

We would like to point out some of the many benefits for building a dog park in our neighborhood: General safety is the #1 benefit of fenced in, off-leash play areas. It’s safer for dogs who are prone to run off, and safer for leashed dogs and pedestrians who don’t want to be bothered by the off-leash play.

Dog parks can provide a safe place for the elderly or people with mobility issues to exercise their dogs. Most dogs require off-leash play opportunities for their health and socialization. Dog parks promote safer neighborhoods. When people are out walking their dogs and playing with them, it has been shown to help keep crime down.

Many dog owners see these play opportunities as a way to build community and meet their neighbors. Dog parks are a positive amenity for new homeowners and renters who look for a community where they can safely own a dog. Spending time or simply watching dogs at play has been proven to improve human wellness and mental health.

The Friends of JP Dog Parks is an organization of volunteers who are committed to ensuring safe, clean, and responsible parks for dogs. We are happy to discuss concerns and welcome respectful dialogue. We want to be good stewards of the community and in return we ask that our neighbors be open to our needs just as we are open to theirs. Because there is a limited amount of usable space for dog parks in JP, there will always be some amount of compromise and need for a willingness to share.

Jamaica Plain has always been a place of inclusion and generosity towards others. The dog community is in dire need of safe spaces and we hope that our neighbors will understand and support us in our efforts.

Please fill out the survey by clicking here and thank you for your open mindedness and willingness to share.

The Friends of JP Dog Parks

Melissa Hamel
Zoe Silverman
Roberta Hantgan