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Chester County Press

Citing violations, supervisors vote to shut down dog park

04/12/2016 12:37PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

It took London Grove Township more than a decade to create Goddard Park, the 125-acre testament to the generosity of Steven and Marna Goddard.
Last Wednesday night, it took only a few minutes for the township to shut down one of the park's most popular destination points.
By a vote of 4-0 at its April 6 board of supervisors meeting, the township will close the dog park at Goddard until at least May 6, when the issue will be reevaluated at the May 4 supervisors' meeting. The reason for the closing stem from a report by Public Works Director Shane Kinsey, who informed the supervisors that there has been a general disregard of park rules and dog park rules throughout Goddard, that clearly state that all dog waste is to be placed in appropriate containers, trash or recycling containers – not only at the dog park but throughout the park's trail system. The violations are not limited to the failure of residents to properly dispose of dog waste; dog toys and other items are being left throughout the park and, despite signage that mandates proper leashing of dogs along trails and open areas, there have been several incidents where dogs have been found untethered and roaming around, unchained.
If the violations continue, the supervisors said that there could be an ordinance that bans dogs entirely from Goddard Park. For now, however, the township will post appropriate signage indicating that the dog park will be closed for the next month. It has also posted news of the dog park's closing on its website.
As a result of the widespread neglect, much of the cleaning and maintenance falls on the township's public works department. Kinsey said that during a routine clean-up, his department staff will pick up between 20 and 30 bags of dog waste that has not been properly disposed of in receptacles, despite the fact that there are waste containers placed every half-mile along the trails, and signage indicating the correct procedure of how to dispose of dog waste.
“There's a reason why the park is being shut down,” said board chairman Richard Scott-Harper. “It's the irresponsibility of the people who are bringing their dogs to the park. I'm sure there are a lot of owners who are doing what they're supposed to, but a few are ruining it for everybody else. It's a statement to draw attention to the issue, and hopefully, they (Goddard Park users) wake up and start behaving responsibly.”
In other township business, Goddard Park received some good news last week, as the board voted to approve the installation of a flagpole and adjoining solar light in the park, at a combined cost of $1,744, which will be paid for out of the township's park & recreation maintenance fund.
The township has applied for a PECO grant to help in the purchase of a new aeration system for the pond at Goddard Park which, if received, would pay for half of the $9,738 system.  Although the board approved the purchase of the system, the township will wait to see if the grant is secured before making the actual purchase.
The board also passed a resolution proclaiming April 29 as Arbor Day in the township. On that day, the township's park and recreation committee is planning an event at Goddard Park beginning at 5 p.m., that will be highlighted by the planting of six trees in the park.
In other news, the supervisors voted to make a contribution of $500 in order to become a participant in the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's Transportation & Community Development Initiative (TCDI) Grant Program. The grant application is seeking to acquire a $100,000 grant -- as well as a county grant and financial participation from local municipalities and private and business funding, totaling $135,000 -- in order to pay for a proposed Route 1 Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, which when completed will develop a long-term land use and transportation strategy along the Route 1 Corridor between Kennett Township and West Nottingham Township.
The proposed plan is intended to provide significant impact to the economic development efforts in four boroughs and nine townships. The plan's objectives will be to develop an improvement plan for the corridor that consists of walkways, trails, greenways, bicycle paths, transit, freight, aviation and roadway improvement projects.
Bob Grabus of the Development Advisory Board of the Chester County Economic Development Council provided the supervisors with an overview of the plan.
"We're going to look at all the land use at the interchanges (along Route 1), and the concept behind that is to ask, 'What's there now? What's being planned? What are the zoning laws at these interchanges?" Grabus said. "It's a fairly comprehensive study we're hoping to get done for a fairly modest amount of money.
The $500 contribution, Grabus said, allows the township to get its "skin in the game," in order to join other townships and municipalities in a commitment to support the plan.
The board voted 3-1 to approve the purchase of a 3500 trim mower, at a cost of $32,322, which will be used by the Inniscrone Golf Course, as was requested by course manager Tom Bolko at the supervisors' March meeting. Those voting in favor of the purchase were board chairman Richard Scott-Harper, and supervisors Dave Connors and Robert Weer. Supervisor Mike Pickel voted against the purchase.
The board voted to amend its contract with the Avondale Fire Department and its ambulance service with additional sums of money, for the year. The township will dedicate $50,600 to the ambulance service – an increase of $4,600 from last year – and $73,947 for fire service to the township – an increase of $4,947 from last year. The board also agreed to amend the township's contract with the West Grove Fire Company, for $111,314.
The board also voted to approve the appointment of Neil Chandler to the township's Environmental Action Committee.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail .