NEW BRITAIN – When Richard Suprynowicz was a child, he often visited Washington Park for swimming lessons and even though many years have gone by he still visits the park daily and feels happy to see that the land is being used for different purposes.
Mayor Erin Stewart, members of the city’s Park and Recreation department, members of the Commission on Animal Welfare and local residents participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the city’s first dog park on Tuesday.
While Suprynowicz is not a dog owner, he feels enthusiastic about the opening of Washington Bark Park.
“It’s a thrill to see the dogs come to the park,” Suprynowicz said.
The dog park is located at Washington Park on the site of a former pool at 81 Carmody St. New landscaping, trash cans, disposable bag stations and benches are some new features at the park.
Paula Poplawski, of New Britain, said she used to bring her dogs to a park in Rocky Hill.
“It will be nice to have something closer in New Britain, and it looks like it’s set up perfectly for them to play with two separate sides and double gates going in and out which is really important,” Poplawski said. “There’s ample parking, it seems like it’s a great place for people to interact with their animals.”
Erik Barbieri, director of Parks and Recreation, said that for many years city residents have been requesting a dog park.
“It’s a great exciting day for the park system in addition to the dog owners,” Barbieri said. “The recreation here is pretty active so we are glad that we could put it in Washington Park, I think dog owners are going to love it.”
“We hope that everybody has a good time but it’s just nice to be able to bring your pups somewhere and to be able to play with other dogs too, it’s a fun thing,” Stewart commented.
Amanda Papa, of Hamden, is an intern at Pulaski Middle School. She went to the ribbon cutting with Lauren Crowley, a social worker through the Community Health Center based at Pulaski.
“We came to check out the dog park to see the area that everyone gets to run around in,” Papa said. “It’s really nice, I think is hard sometimes to be able to get out and walk your dog and it’s nice to let them just run around free if you don’t have a closed in backyard and it’s nice to have them interact with other dogs.”
Papa and Crowley were also accompanied by Barkley, one of three therapy dogs that Crowley often brings to the middle school.
For Paula Boyer, having the park is relieving. She said she has a spacious yard that it’s not fenced in which makes it an issue for her to let her dog out off leash.
“She doesn’t get to run too often in closed areas so this would be fun for her,” Boyer said. “She loves other dogs so just the companionship with other dogs would be good.”
The dog park is open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset. To learn more about Washington Bark Park call the city’s Parks and Recreation department at 860-826-3360.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.