Portsmouth RI Dog Park about to receive a significant upgrade

PORTSMOUTH — Five years after the Portsmouth Dog Park opened, the popular gathering place for dogs and their humans is about to grow bigger.

The Portsmouth Dog Park Committee announced at the June 13 meeting of the Portsmouth Town Council it has received a grant from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation to fully fund an expansion of the park and installation of night lighting.

The Town Council unanimously voted to proceed with the project. Last year, the dog park committee commissioned an engineering study to assess the feasibility of expanding the park and parking lot and installing night lighting.

The assessment was conducted by NEI Narragansett Engineering, Inc. and funded jointly by NEI and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the latter of which is also underwriting a project to collect and analyze data regarding use of the dog park.

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The year-long data study is being conducted by students from Salve Regina University’s math and economic departments. Preliminary data from their work indicates the median number of people using the park is 160 on weekdays and between 200 and 300 on weekends.

“This is more than twice the number of people we originally estimated would use the park,” Jane Regan, chair of the Portsmouth Dog Park Committee, said in a prepared statement.

The engineering plan calls for doubling the size of the dog park footprint in the form of a dogleg (no pun intended) to the north and west of the existing park. The estimated cost for this portion of the project is $98,000. While the main park is open field, the new section will carve a 0.4-mile path through the underbrush, allowing native trees and plants to thrive.

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