Special Event Approval – Bark for Life
On the topic of the annual event request for Bark for Life, the Commission engaged with Amy Horton who was present to answer questions. The event was initiated by an AHS student, and a $10 registration fee per dog is anticipated. Last year the event raised $7300 for the American Cancer Society. Recreation Director Joe Connelly confirmed that the event had no issues in the past, and the number of participants is expected to be around 50, up from 30 the previous year. Leslie Mayer prompted awareness that dogs are not allowed in the playground area. Jen Rothenberg moved to approve the event request, seconded by Leslie Mayer, and it was approved 3-0, with Connelly set to issue the permit.
Film Permitting Policy Review
Connelly presented an updated film permitting policy, which had minor adjustments from the existing policy, which is over a decade old. Leslie Mayer requested the removal of the word “additional” from the fees section and Josh Fenollosa recommended adding a link to the Parks and Recreation Commission Rules and Regs. After discussion, Leslie Mayer motioned to approve the updated policy as amended, seconded by Jen Rothenberg, and it passed with a 3-0 approval.
Menotomy Rocks Park Jason Street Access Gates
Discussion on Menotomy Rocks Park’s new gates, both pedestrian and vehicular, was led by Connelly and Judy Weinberg. The funding for the $5800 project will be covered by the FOMRP. The gates will match the park’s existing ornamental style, with plans for a 3-foot wide pedestrian gate. ADA compliance was advised by Scott Walker, and Leslie Mayer opposed the pedestrian gate, citing concerns about wear and tear, maintenance, and the creation of an unwelcoming “gated community” feel. Multiple commissioners shared the sentiment about potential hazards and an unwelcoming feeling. Nonetheless, Leslie Mayer moved to approve the replacement of the vehicular gate, seconded by Rothenberg, and it was approved 3-0 upon further discussion with the Historical Commission.
Comments and Items for Future Meetings
The future meeting agenda includes permitting of alcohol for events, murals presented by Cecily Miller, and a property jurisdiction discussion pertaining to a CPA request by David Morgan and Claire Richter.
Emails were received and acknowledged from Beth Melofchik concerning off-leash dog times, Dana Simon regarding Menotomy Dog Policy, and Amanda Fredo about off-leash dogs at Parallel Park.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes from September 26, 2023, received a 3-0 approval.
Connelly announced that the CPA invited the Commission to submit final applications for Menotomy and Courts projects, with eligibility confirmed by the CPA Committee. Due to a budget shortfall, Mayer noted that there may be a need to prioritize or phase the projects. She also mentioned forthcoming state funding that could affect the financial landscape.
During public comments, concerns were raised about alcohol permitting policies. Requests were made for better waste management strategies such as recycling bins and possible fees. The Commission agreed to handle “no mow” signage at McClennan Park to protect ecological areas. The removal of the Spooky Walk signage was also discussed, with Connelly set to send a reminder email.
Nancy Knoff inquired about extending Wellington Park path to Brattle Street and also sparked a conversation about potentially flexible off-leash dog policies in the Reservoir and Menotomy Rocks Park. The Commission noted the need for community-wide dialogue possibly requiring mediation and recognized the contentious nature of the off-leash dog topic. Connelly shared statistics showing Arlington offers more off-leash dog time than neighboring communities.
Lastly, the Commission decided to address the off-leash dog issue further in a future meeting, with no decisions made without a full attendance of the commissioners.
Minutes were submitted by Deanna Stacchi.