DANBURY, Conn. — With his beloved pup Ellie as his side, Mayor Mark Boughton kicked off the ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for Danbury's new dog park with a few puns.
Do you plan to use the new dog park?
Yes — my pup can't wait
Yes — it's just what we needed in town
Nope — no pooches here
No — owners should just walk their dogs on leashes
"You've barked at me for years about getting a dog park," Boughton said. "I'm glad I can finally shed the complaints about Danbury not having one now."
He welcomed a crowd of canines and their people to the official opening of the dog park on Miry Brook Road and noted it is the largest one in Western Connecticut that is fully enclosed.
Although Southbury has a large dog park, it has a river as one of its boundaries as opposed to the fully fenced in park in Danbury, he said. The park is near the intersection of Miry Brook Road and Backus Avenue, and is across the street from Wooster School on one side and FedEx on the other.
Boughton thanked the people who worked to make the dog park a reality. He mentioned City Council President Joe Cavo, who started the ball rolling years ago; the important input from Paul Estefan, administrator of the Danbury Municipal Airport, which is across the street from the park; and especially the efforts of Anthony Iadarola, Director of Public Works and the employees in his department who worked like dogs by doing the physical work of making the park a reality.
One of the youngest people in attendance also received the mayor's thanks. Jacob Saadi, 8, of Danbury, wrote a letter to the mayor asking for the creation of a dog park. The mayor turned the podium over to Jacob for a few remarks. Saadi's father, City Council member Tom Saadi, looked on as his son stepped to the microphone.
"I would just like to thank the mayor for building the dog park, and this is my sister Sabrina," Saadi said, indicating his twin, who stood nearby. His sincere declaration drew appreciative chuckles from the crowd.
Next, Boughton talked about what went into building the park and reviewed a few basic rules for using the park. Since one of the main rules is for owners to clean up after their dogs, Boughton pointed out the plastic bag dispenser and the dumpster that owners can use to dispose of any doggy droppings.
He then turned the podium over to Iadarola, who outlined how much of the work was done "in-house" by his department.
"We were determined to make this the best dog park in the state of Connecticut," he said. "And I really think we did."
After the ribbon-cutting, the honor of which the mayor bestowed on Jacob, the assembled crowd of dogs and people split. The big dogs and their humans headed to the part of the park designated for their use, and the small dogs — 20 pounds and under — entered through a gate to their part of the park.
The Crawfords of Danbury watched the big dogs racing around their 1.3-acre enclosure with delight. They had left their German shepherd at home so they could check out the park first.
"We've never been to a dog park," Foster Crawford said. "It's very interesting." Asked whether they would be bringing their dog to the park in the future, Crawford said, "Absolutely!"