After conflict between the dog-owner community and youth sports community, an agreement has been reached in the form of Barrett Community Center’s new regulations on dog usage of the grass field.
Dogs are now only allowed to be off leash at the Barrett Community Center in the morning from 6-8 a.m between Mar. 1-Nov. 30. They can also be off leash in the evening from 6:30 p.m to 30 minutes after sunset between Jul. 15-Aug.15.
The new guidelines came when the Belmont Parks and Recreation Commission made recommendations for a better way of handling dogs at Barrett. The dispute between youth sports community and the dog-owner community over the intended use of Barrett Community Center’s park that has lasted for years has also contributed to the new policies.
“Some people who like to run their dogs off leash at other times of the year did not like this plan. Others were frustrated that we are banning dogs completely during certain months. In the end, I think this pilot program holds great potential for success,” recent Belmont Mayor Charles Stone said.
These new additions to Belmont’s community address simultaneous usage of Barrett Community Center’s park by youth sports and dog owners. With the new schedule, youth sports and dog owners are limited to little to no overlap.
“I feel the new rules are a good compromise to enable youth sports organizations and local dog owners to both use the park. It addresses the concerns youth sports organizations have been raising – to have no dogs on the fields when children are using the fields. They make the park safer for my kids who use that park and any of the kids who play youth soccer,” Jamie Dal Porto, Assistant Regional Commissioner of AYSO, said.
The safety of the youth and success of this compromise is reliant upon the enforcement of this policy. To ensure these bans, they will be made clear to the public.
“The idea is to employ lots if signage to make the rules very clear. We also talked about having a ‘dog season’ kickoff event and ending event of some sort to help remind people when the season begins and ends. Enforcement will be handled by our code enforcement and police departments,” Stone said.
While the regulations of Barret Park can be viewed as biased towards the youth sports community, some dog owners are content with the compromise and see its potential.
“That’s better than before when they were not allowed off leash at all. It’s good for the dogs and owners. We’ll have to see how it works out for the kids out there,” Belmont resident Bal Kay said.