2018-06-07 / Editorial

Did You Hear?

by Alex MacPhail


Felines were represented at the first Bark In The Park celebration held at Saco Dog Park on School Street. Karen Wiles of Sebago, a volunteer with The Pixel Fund, a group that specializes in foster care and placement of dogs and cats (as well as hard to place dogs), shows off Ms. Jekyll, an 11-month-old feline hoping to find a forever home. For more information on how to adopt or become a foster family for dogs or cats in need of a home, visit www.thepixelfund.org. (Alex MacPhail photo) Felines were represented at the first Bark In The Park celebration held at Saco Dog Park on School Street. Karen Wiles of Sebago, a volunteer with The Pixel Fund, a group that specializes in foster care and placement of dogs and cats (as well as hard to place dogs), shows off Ms. Jekyll, an 11-month-old feline hoping to find a forever home. For more information on how to adopt or become a foster family for dogs or cats in need of a home, visit www.thepixelfund.org. (Alex MacPhail photo) Did you hear? This past Saturday, June 2, Saco went to the dogs, literally, as Saco Main Street held its first Bark In The Park canine celebration at the Saco Dog Park, located behind the Gov. John Fairfield School on School Street in Saco.

The event was held as a way to highlight the need for various repairs and upgrades necessary for the park, such as the inclusion of a dedicated area for smaller dogs, to keep pace with growing use by residents. As various dog owners (and some dogs as well) sought shelter under the only available shade (two tall oak trees located at each end of the fenced in park), one of the apparent needs is pavilion, not unlike the one at Old Orchard Beach K9 Veterans’ Memorial Dog Park (located on Heath Street). Throughout the day, as music played and Thornton Academy students provided face-painting for children, an estimated 250 dogs made their way by various nonprofit vendors such as Pittie Posse out of South Portland, which specializes in pit bull rescue and rehabilitation; No Bowl Empty Food Pantry, a donated food program based out of Hollis that helps provide pet food assistance for those in need; and the Pixel Fund, a nonprofit group from Gorham that specializes in both foster care and adoption for dogs and cats – three kittens were on hand for adoption. Other vendors included Uptown Hound, which offered nail trimmings, Capable Canine and Saco Veterinary Clinic and Animal Hospital of Saco.

In other community news, did you hear, members of the Saco Conservation Commission and the Saco Parks and Recreation Advisory Board went on a guided tour of Saco properties led by Saco Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Sommer Thursday, May 31. The event was held to gather information and better understand community needs. The tour began at Diamond Riverside Park, a 6-acre parcel located at the end of Irving Street in Saco. The park features a concrete boat launch, provides motorized boat access to the Saco River, features an upgraded play area for children, picnic tables and a beautiful walking trail that follows the river to the base of the Pan-Am-owned railroad trestle. Future plans include new tables, cutting back on invasive vegetation and a possible loop trail.

The second property visited was Shadagee Woods, a 14-acre parcel (of which 4 acres are maintained) neighborhood park located at the intersection of Rosewood Drive and Juniper Lane that features a basketball court, an wood-style play area and a small pond, frequently used by area children during winter for ice skating. Future plans include replacement of the outdated swings and slide and new basketball hoops.

The third property toured was Prentiss Park, a little known, city owned, parcel that covers over 30 acres along Route 5 between Louden Road and the Saco River. While unmaintained now (it is currently leased privately for hay and animal grazing) future plans include a no nmotorized boat launch, walking/hiking trails, four season access and a possible natural amphitheater. The fourth stop on the tour was the Foss Road Athletic Fields. This 174-acre area (of which 20 acres are maintained) features 11 athletic fields (seven in the front and four in the back section, known as Sandy Brook), a seasonal ice skating rink and attached to the property, a fishing area that also features walking trails and a small pavilion. Sommer said the pond, known as Bass Pond, was stocked with bass a few years back and it is now a popular spot for catch and release fishing. Plans for Foss Road include a warming hut for the skating rink and possible water for the backfields, which as of now, has no irrigation capabilities and suffers during dry months.

As the sun began to set, the last stop on the tour was Jubilee Park. This little used urban parcel is located on a small island west of Main Street on the Saco River and is accessed via a covered bridge that runs across the canal/raceway located on the north side of the river along Water Street, across from Lord Pepperell Apartments. The park, which in the past had been the target of vandals, now features various flora, benches, a checkerboard table (that has been estimated to be over 20 years old) and scenic views of the river. Plans are to keep the parcel as is, for all residents to use and enjoy.

Alex MacPhail is an ad representative for the Courier and chairman of Saco Conservation Commission, president of Friends of the Ballpark, a member of Saco Main Street Executive Board, Saco Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and HOB River Jam Committee. Have an interesting event you’d like publicized? Email him at didyouhearinthcourier.com.

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