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Forest Hills Resident Asks City to Turn Vacant Lot into Dog Park

Barlow Street resident Julie A. Larson is petitioning the “dog-friendly” neighborhood to maintain the publicly-owned plots.

Three adjoining plots of city-owned land tucked neatly away high in the Forest Hills neighborhood are a struggle to find without a GPS; the likelihood that a city worker – or even an area resident – would take notice is slim.

One resident is trying to change that by asking neighbors to urge the city to take over the plots and construct a dog park.

Barlow Street resident Julie A. Larson has 10 signatures as of this writing on her online petition that calls for the city to transform the shaded area across the street from her home into a neighborhood park for dogs.

Larson, a longtime JP renter and recent homeowner, said through this movement, she hopes her neighborhood gets more visibility in the eyes of the city.

“[Barlow] Street is very neglected,” she said in an interview. “Maybe if it was used more by the community, the city would pave it and there would be more lights installed."

Larson has notified Boston City Council of her request, and is now attempting to get the attention of the city parks department.

To request an off-leash dog park, a group of at least 10 people must file an application with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and include a proposal of hours the park will be open, a maintenance plan and primary funding sources for the establishment of the park, according to a city ordinance.

Larson seems to have the necessary support from the neighborhood, now she just needs the support from the city.

“I just want to see it be used properly, because I really love this neighborhood,” Larson said.

Jess in JP March 28, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Since Barlow St is a private way, it's the responsibility of the residents to have it paved (I live on a nearby private way, so I've had the not-that-fun opportunity to research the vagaries of Boston's private way laws).
William Dawes March 28, 2013 at 02:10 PM
I also live on a private way near to these lots. I think we also should consider turning these lots into city gardening plots for food production. Food security is becoming an increasingly recognized issue. With inflation driving the price of food upwards, having local plots of land available for food production would help families obtain low-cost, high quality vegetables. The Forest Hills neighborhood has lots of green space, parks, and even an herb garden (Leland Street), but no nearby land available for growing vegetables in a dedicated fashion like other neighborhoods. Local food production would also help lower the carbon footprint of vegetables grown in California and Mexico and then refrigerated and driven to New England. The Kendall Foundation is looking to do exactly this - increase local food production in New England - check out their website. Perhaps they could help leverage the funds necessary to create this. In any case, I applaud Julie for thinking creatively. The City was here earlier in the winter taking photos of these lots, intending to clean up the lots and eventually put them up for bid. If you see a better use for these lots than additional housing, then now is the time to put your ideas up for community support.
Liam Sullivan March 28, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Sounds like a good plan. This lot is adjacent to my yard and it already serves informally as a neighborhood park space. I like how it improves the walkability of the neighborhood by allowing people (with or without dogs) to connect Wenham St to Wachusett St. Unfortunately it also gets used as a dumping ground by some unscrupulous people. One neighbor did a lot of work last summer to clean up the trash and put down woodchips. Another neighbor added a tree swing for the kids. Anything that formalizes the space - whether as a dog park or something else - empowering the community to continue to care and maintain it would be very welcome.
Sydney Rosen March 28, 2013 at 04:12 PM
A dog park is a great idea, if it's well run so that nearby residents are not bothered. There are few places in the area where dogs are allowed to play off leash (legally). Would love to support this.
donna c. March 28, 2013 at 05:00 PM
I applaud the dog park. I am a Forest Hills resident. At my place of employment, I witness everyday what our clients have to go through (legally) with City Hall, Zoning Board of Appeals, Neighborhood Associations, Abutters, etc., etc., etc. I wish you the best of luck and I support the dog park!
karen harris March 28, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I agree with you
Julie A. Larson March 28, 2013 at 09:54 PM
https://www.facebook.com/groups/440907935989301/
Rhea Becker March 29, 2013 at 02:52 AM
I would love to see a dog park added to the neighborhood. Dogs need to run and there is no truly OK place for dogs to do this.
DJ Grace March 29, 2013 at 04:29 AM
I would also love to have a dog park. Would be a nice addition to the neighborhood. Also the presence of dog owners with their dogs help with reducing crime, dumping, and hanging out.
Tina Cincotti April 04, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Another vote a dog park! My pup loves to play in there.

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