Efforts to have a dog park constructed in West Hartford have seen their share of ups and downs.
Indeed, through the years, sites have been identified, only to be ruled out due to a lack of practicality [Fernridge Park], neighborhood objections [Home Depot near Charter Oak International Academy] or some other reason [West Hartford Reservoir].
But the president of the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition, the group that has spearheaded the effort to have a park for pooches, believes that the grassy property between Trout Brook Drive and Whole Foods is the answer.
"The town proposed it," said Phil Karlin, the coalition's president in a telephone interview. "That site came up right after the Home Depot situation [in 2010]."
But Karlin said that the issue - and there always seems to be an issue with the dog park - is that the site is jointly owned by the town and the state. So an application to have the dog park constructed was filed with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
That request was ultimately denied earlier this year, Karlin said, because the site sits in a flood plain zone.
Karlin said that, just by eyeballing the site, one can see that any concerns with flooding are unfounded, as Trout Brook runs under the site through a large pipe.
Karlin appealed to state Sen. Beth Bye, who facilitated a meeting with DEEP representatives and town officials at the site in mid-September.
"It was a positive meeting and a step getting DEEP to move in the right direction," Karlin said. "The ball is in their court."
Even if DEEP changes its position - which Karlin said he is optimistic will happen - then construction wouldn't happen immediately.
But Karlin, who is the Coalition's third president, believes that the dog park will eventually be a reality at some point.
"Don’t ask me when but, yes, I’m very confident the Trout Brook situation will eventually work out," Karlin said. "It’s a bit of challenge because it’s only a dog park. It ain't biggest thing in the world. ... The state is dealing with $100 million project somewhere. We're talking about ½ acre land for a dog park in West Hartford. Getting people’s attention is a little bit of a challenge. But sooner or later we’ll get there."