New Bedford officially breaks ground on Captain Jack Peterson Memorial Dog Park

New Bedford, Massachusetts– City officials and community members broke ground on the Captain Jack Peterson Memorial Dog Park on Thursday, June 15, 2017, on Hathaway Boulevard between Greenwood Street and Ruggles Street.

The dog park design and installation is funded entirely through a grant that the Stanton Foundation awarded to the City of New Bedford. New Bedford applied for and received $21,940 for the design phase and $222,472.00 for construction. The Stanton Foundation was created by long time CBS president, Frank Stanton, and has canine welfare and the strengthening of the dog-human bond as one of its core missions. It has supported the construction of seven dog parks in Massachusetts with several more under construction including this park in New Bedford.

“The Captain Jack Peterson Memorial Dog Park will be the perfect addition to our great parks and recreation areas across New Bedford,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “The opportunity to use grant funding for design and construction of the park, working together with community members and City Councillors who have long been involved in advocating for a dog park in the city, will add a fun space for residents, visitors and their dogs to enjoy.”

A formal off-leash space for dogs has been a desire of the New Bedford community for some time. It was not until 2014, under Mayor Mitchell’s leadership, that a site for the park was ultimately identified. The City hosted public information sessions, solicited ideas for reuse of the land and ultimately presented the dog park proposal to the community. The neighborhood also agreed that a dog park would be the best reuse option for the parcels. The City then solicited input regarding design and best practices through meetings with city dog park advocates. City departments also reviewed the proposed use of the site and supported the development of a dog park in this location. The dog park will be managed by the Department of Parks, Recreation & Beaches and maintained by the Department of Public Infrastructure. In 2008, the City Council established a Special Committee on the Feasibility of Creating a Dog Park and has since recommended criteria for the operation of such a park.

The Captain Jack Peterson Memorial Dog Park will be an enclosed area safe for canines to play, socialize, and learn off-leash. The dog park will be accessed via a “swipe card”. Swipe cards will be available to owners of neutered, licensed dogs, with all vaccinations up to date, for an annual fee paid to the City.

An information kiosk will provide park rules with contact information for the animal control officer. Owners will be responsible to clean up after their dogs.

The park will be named for longtime local media personality Joel “Captain Jack Peterson” Polonsky, who died in 2014. Peterson was a radio host in New Bedford on WNBH and WBSM and he and his wife, Lynne, had long been involved in charities that contribute to the protection and welfare of animals. A native of Lynn, Peterson attended the Leland Powers School for Radio and started at WNBH in 1980; his career in New Bedford spanned more than three decades.

The park will include:

  • Black-vinyl coated chain link fencing (height: 5 feet) to enclose the dog park
  • Double gated swing entrance/exit
  • Two distinct play areas: one small dog area and one large dog area
  • Canine agility elements: balance beam, climbing areas, and a sand pit
  • Dog water station/fountain
  • Seating areas
  • Trash and recycling receptacles, dog waste bag dispensers
  • On-site parking with walkway to the enclosure
  • Shade tree(s)
  • Swipe card access system
  • Informational kiosk and signage Pressley Assoc. are a well known and award winning landscape architecture firm from Boston. They have designed several dog parks and most recently completed the Bremen St Dog Park in East Boston.