Girl Scouts praised for dog park initiative

Staff Writer

The initiative as well as the persistence by Girl Scouts Abigail “Abby”

Brooks and Lilith “Lilly” Rebecca Hoover has led to a community-wide dog park expected to come to fruition in spring 2016.

Abby and Lilly were presented with county and local proclamations at a Metuchen Borough Council meeting on Dec. 7 for their endeavor that began in 2013.

“The idea of a dog park was out there; however, in one way or another, [the idea] couldn’t take off,” said Council President Ron Grayzel.

When Abby and Lilly presented their idea as part of their Girl Scout Silver Award project in 2013, the idea grew with public support around it.

The youngsters collected about 575 signatures for a petition in favor of the proposal and promoted the idea at the annual Metuchen Country Fair. Abby is a member of Girl Scout Cadette Troop 80417 and Lilly is a member of Troop 80962.

Both Abby and Lily have dogs of their own. The girls have said a dog park would enable the hounds to release energy without causing havoc in their homes.

As a result, Mayor Thomas Vahalla formed an 11-person committee to explore the possibility of establishing a community dog park.

Grayzel said the girls did a survey for locations for dog parks, which included Roosevelt Park in Edison and the final location on Whitman Avenue.

The site selected encompasses what is known as the Chemical Insecticide Corporation site, a remediated Superfund site.

“They took the initiative to make a change in the borough and make a positive change,” he said.

Middlesex County Freeholder Charles Tomaro congratulated the two girls and said if not for their motivation, the idea of a dog park might never have come to fruition.

Tomaro said local officials in Metuchen and Edison as well as Middlesex County came to agreements on two acres of open space land on Whitman Avenue on the Edison-Metuchen border for the dog park.

There will be two park areas, one for smaller dogs and one for their larger counterparts.

Metuchen and Edison will share maintenance responsibilities, which include lawn maintenance and garbage pickup. The municipalities will alternate months and split the costs for lawn cutting, which officials estimate the cost at about $400 a month.

“Construction should be started shortly and open sometime in the spring,” he said.

Vahalla congratulated Abby and Lilly and said that he knows that his two dogs will be happy to take a run at the park when it is up and running.