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Neighbors object to using Priest Field for Canton dog park

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CANTON — Faced with objections from neighbors, community members who wanted to establish a dog park at Priest Field have agreed to look for another location for their canines to gather.

Several residents from Church and Judson streets turned out for a public hearing Monday evening to tell village trustees they support the idea of a fenced-in dog park but feel other spots are more suitable, such as Willow Island Park along the Grasse River or Bend in the River Park next to the Canton Recreational Pavilion.

Jason Pfotenhauer, 12 Judson St., said the proposed 20,000-square-foot dog area would take up the majority of green space at Priest Field that’s now used by neighborhood children for outdoor games like Frisbee and soccer.

“Having the park at Priest Field would essentially take the whole field and most of the green space,” he said. “I know that space is pretty heavily used on a pretty regular basis.”

Mr. Pfotenhauer said he’s also concerned that “when dogs get together, they like to communicate.”

Mark J. Erickson, 15 Church St., said he felt using Priest Field as a dog park was contrary to the deed restrictions placed on the park by the Priest family who donated the grassy area to the village.

“I’m very much opposed to having this at Priest Field,” Mr. Erickson said. “I think a dog park is fine, but Priest Field is not the place for it.”

Judy L. DeGraaff, the village resident who spearheaded the dog park idea, said her committee understands the concerns that have been raised.

“We have decided to look elsewhere,” Mrs. DeGraaff said.

Conrad Stuntz, 7 Church St., said he believes Willow Island would be a good match for a dog park because it’s near the water.

“I think Willow Island would be a nice match because it adds a water component, but I don’t know how that fits in with the development of the waterfront,” Mr. Stuntz said.

Village Mayor David C. Curry said the village board will take into consideration comments made at the public hearing. Another public hearing will be scheduled if an alternative site is chosen.

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