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Community Effort Brings Dog Waste Disposal Stations to Green

 

By Colleen Gundlach

In this divisive world, there are two truths on which most people will agree. First, dogs make great pets, and second, no one likes to step in dog feces. Imagine strolling across the green, enjoying the crisp autumn air and vibrant colors of the trees and suddenly finding your shoe (hopefully not your sandal) splotched into a brown, gooey mess. Even if you are fortunate enough to avoid these canine-induced traps, just the sight of them is enough to spoil your beautiful afternoon walk.

Doreen Kelly is one person who decided to do something about it. Kelly, a member of the Norfolk Economic Development Committee, became frustrated at the sight. “The EDC has been working hard to promote activities and special events on the green, but the dog waste has become a real problem.”

She decided to take action, and approached the Norfolk Community Association for help. As a result, Chairman Joel Howard, Public Works Director John Allyn, First Selectman Sue Dyer and Kelly collaborated on the project and came up with a solution. After researching the subject and discussing it with townspeople, dog waste disposal stations will be set up in two spots on the green this month.

The stations will consist of a plastic bag dispenser system where dog owners who forget to bring a disposal bag will be able to get one, free of charge; a trash can specifically for the disposal of these bags and, of course, a sign to remind dog owners to be responsible.

“The waste stations address issues of cleanliness and convenience,” says Howard. “It’s making the green more welcoming to visitors.” Kelly agrees, “It’s all about making Norfolk livable and appealing,” she says.

The project is truly a community effort, with the Community Association providing funding for the stations, the town road crew pouring cement footings and assembling the stations, and Doreen Kelly volunteering to keep the plastic bag dispensers filled in good weather and bad.

“We’re hoping people will use the stations and appreciate the convenience,” says Kelly. If they are successful, maybe we will look at putting one downtown in Station Place as well.”

Howard says the stations will be sited away from benches and walkways, being sensitive to convenience and aesthetics. “We want the green to be enjoyed by dogs and humans alike. Having the waste stations puts the onus on the dog owner to be mindful that other people will be using the green as well,” he says. “It’s a no brainer.”

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