Joy Hanscom speaks against a proposed dog park at the Bar Harbor athletic fields during a site visit by the Parks & Recreation Committee on Monday. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Second dog park option draws fire

BAR HARBOR — Members of the Parks & Recreation Committee and proponents of a dog park got an earful Monday afternoon from several people who are adamantly opposed to having a dog park located between Cromwell Brook and the paved parking lot and basketball court at the town’s athletic fields. 

Joy Hanscom, whose family has owned the Cromwell Harbor Motel for 35 years, said they promote it as a quiet place to stay and that having barking dogs just across the brook could destroy that reputation and ruin their business. 

Their website describes the Cromwell Harbor Motel as “Bar Harbor’s premier quiet Main Street motel.” 

Others said they aren’t opposed to having a dog park somewhere in town, but they don’t think the athletic fields site is the right place. 

Sharon Knopp and Enoch Albert, the couple who, along with others, proposed creating an in-town dog park, had first put forward Glen Mary Park as the best location. But they withdrew that proposal in the face of opposition from some residents of the Glen Mary neighborhood. 

Their second choice was the athletic fields location. 

The Parks & Recreation Committee scheduled a site visit there for Monday afternoon. About a dozen Bar Harbor residents joined them, and committee Chair John Kelly invited them to ask questions or make comments. 

Knopp and Albert said they know of many people in Bar Harbor who would like to have a convenient dog park. And they said it wouldn’t be a nuisance, that barking is never a big problem at the dog parks they have visited. 

Dog park proponent Jeff Miller said the proposed location, much of which is currently covered with vines and undergrowth, is not only under-utilized, it is hardly used at all. 

But Parks & Recreation Committee member Desiree Sirois said that doesn’t mean the site couldn’t be put to good use in the future. She mentioned as examples a pickleball court or even a swimming pool. 

Committee member Bob Huff, operations director at the YMCA, which is across Park Street from the athletic fields, expressed concern about the proposed dog park location.  

Kelly noted that the town’s deed to the eastern side of the athletic fields, where the dog park would be located, stipulates that it can be used for recreation purposes only. 

Parks & Recreation Committee members Jeff Dobbs and Greg Veilleux did not go on the site visit. 

The committee, which is set to discuss the dog park proposal at its April 4 meeting, is an advisory body. Any decision on the dog park would be made by the Town Council. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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