East Boston’s First Dog Park Opens on Bremen Street

September 18, 2015
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An early advocate of an East Boston dog park, MassPAWS President April Abenza (right) and her bulldog, Mack, enjoy the newly opened Bremen Street Dog Park in East Boston. The park officially opened on Monday.

An early advocate of an East Boston dog park, MassPAWS President April Abenza (right) and her bulldog, Mack, enjoy the newly opened Bremen Street Dog Park in East Boston. The park officially opened on Monday.

It was an idea that percolated up from local dog owners who clamored for years that the neighborhood was in desperate need for a dog park. The place envisioned by residents was a place dog owners could go, let their pets roam free without worry or harassment from non-dog owners and mingle with friends and neighbors.

On Monday the vision became a realty as Massport joined with dog owners and elected officials to cut the ribbon on Eastie’s first ever dog park.

The 22,655-square-foot Bremen Street Dog Park at the corner of Bremen and Porter Streets welcomes dogs of all sizes and their human companions for canine play, recreation and exercise, and was developed by Massport at the request of the community.

“Massport was delighted to work with community leaders and residents to develop this great new addition to East Boston green space,” said Massport CEO Thomas Glynn. “Whenever we have the opportunity to promote neighborhood recreation and a commitment to the environment, it’s a win-win. In this case, our neighbors include those with four legs.”

The Bremen Street Dog Park, which has a surface of crushed stone, is divided into a nearly 17,000-square-foot area for all dogs and a nearly 5,500-square-foot area for smaller dogs. There is a 300-square foot entrance corral to help keep dogs from accidentally escaping while other dogs are leashed and unleashed. The $250,000 project features six pieces of dog agility equipment, two pet waste stations to facilitate immediate clean-up and disposal, and five benches for people to watch their dogs at play. The park also has two dual water fountains, for the dogs and for people.

The idea was championed by former State Rep. Carlo Basile, before he left office to work in Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration. Basile said over the years dog owners and non-dog owners in Jeffries Point have clashed over the use of parks like Brophy Park for off-leash dog walking. Dog owners for years have advocated for their own space to be able to let their pets roam free without restriction or complaints from non-dog owners.

Last summer Basile formed a committee and appointed dog park advocates in the neighborhood like April Abenza, John Casamassima, Blythe Berents, Meg Hammond, Andrew Pike and Leila Costa.

“We knew it was needed, what has surprised me has been who has been using it,” said Abenza, MassPAWS president. “Everyone from young adults to seniors in their late 80s, it’s a great place to interact with neighbors new and old.”

Basile, who was at Monday’s event said the dog park represents a shift in the relationship between the community and Massport.

“This was my last official act before I left as East Boston State Representative and was the idea of a few individuals in the neighborhood who came to me and asked how we can get this done,” said Basile. “I saw that it was something that was much needed in this community and would bring the community together. It was another instance when Massport was not the enemy and worked closely with my office at the time and the residents who were advocating for this park so I want to thank the Port Authority for stepping up and getting this done.”

All users of Massport’s Bremen Street Dog Park are asked to be respectful of neighbors, users of the nearby Bremen Street Park, and others present in the dog park. Dog owners are also expected to abide by all posted rules. Dogs over the age of eight months must be spayed or neutered. All dogs must wear collars displaying their license at all times and must be inoculated and healthy. Only three dogs per handler are allowed in the park and must be within sight and voice control at all times. Dogs must be leashed prior to entering and exiting the dog park in the secured entrance corral. Any dog displaying aggressive, rough, or unruly behavior must be leashed and removed immediately. The dog park is open from dawn to dusk and is a smoke-free area.

“Pets are important companions,” said Councilor Sal Lamattina. “The dog park at Bremen Street Park is another great resource to bring community together and increase public safety.”

Currently, Massport owns or manages more than 33 acres of green space in East Boston including Piers Park, Bremen Street Park and airport edge buffers like Neptune Road which opened earlier this summer. During the past 10 years, Massport has invested $50 million to develop and maintain green space in East Boston.