On Wednesday night, the issue of a dog park once again went before the Bedford Town Council when a public hearing was held to discuss a petition to put a question on the ballot that will let voters weigh in with their opinions on March 12th. It's interesting to note that the hearing was attended by more residents than attended the hearing on the Town's proposed operating budget just a couple of weeks ago.
The Friends of Canine Corner will pay for the construction of the dog park, and are willing to continue to raise money each year for its operation and maintenance.However, the Town wants the group to have a lease with the Town that will specifically and officially bind the group to having full responsibility for the park's operation and maintenance. As volunteers, the Friends of Canine Corner are not willing to enter into a formal lease, but nevertheless remain willing to commit to continuing their support into the future through their fundraising.
Voters will be able to select an answer from a 3-part question which asks if the dog park should receive any or no taxpayer dollars if needed in the future for operation and maintenance, and if there must be a formal lease with either the Friends or another organization. Essentially, if voters insist on a lease, it will probably mean that there will be no dog park in Bedford, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. The Friends believe that voters may not completely realize that a vote for the lease will put an end to their efforts.
On Thursday, a new "Tell It Like It Is With Public Officials" show called "Bedford Dog Park - The Voters Decide" was taped with my guests Town Manager Jessie Levine and Fred Hurwitz. the president of Friends of Canine Corner. The discussion was pretty lively, and it includes a history on all of the hurdles already conquered in the multi-year effort to have a place where Bedford residents can legally bring their beloved canine pets for some exercise and some fun with other pooches.
You can watch the show right now on YouTube by going to http://youtu.be/Rs9kakdnwAw . It will also be posted on the show's website at www.tellitlikeitisnh.com . And it will also appear on BCTV Channel 16 - probably on the weekly schedule beginning on February 15th. Because the subject is a ballot issue, it may also appear on BCTV Channel 22 prior to that.
Both the Town Council and the Friends of Canine Corner really want voters to pay attention to this ballot issue, so take the time to watch the show so that you'll have all of the facts before casting your vote.