Listen to the original radio news story by Paul Tuthill of WAMC here or read the article below.
Volunteers have been chosen to serve on two new committees created to focus on environmental issues and creating a dog park in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Thomas Lott says he loves dogs. The Springfield resident takes his canine friend to a dog park in East Longmeadow. So, when he heard an ad hoc committee would be formed to develop a location in Springfield where dogs can exercise and play off-the-leash, he sent his resume to City Hall.
"I see how the dogs mingle with each other. They get a chance to socialize and its nice to see that, but in Springfield we don't have anything like that," Lott said.
Lott is one of five people appointed by City Council President Orlando Ramos to serve on the council’s Dog Park Committee.
City Councilor Marcus Williams is chairman of the Dog Park Committee. He said the group will pursue a three-step approach starting with identifying funding sources for the project, locating a space that could host a dog park and making sure the plans for it are acceptable to the neighborhood that will host it.
"We are working diligently already," said Williams.
The committee will be advised by officials from the city’s parks department and the office of Health and Human Services.
Twelve people have been selected to serve on a new committee tasked with recommending policies for the city to adopt to reduce pollution, curb waste, and lower energy consumption. City Councilor Jesse Lederman, who chairs the Green Committee, said the committee members are “dedicated and passionate.”
"We have experts in the fields of sustainability, law, food justice, environmental justice, city planning, urban agriculture, and business," said Lederman.
Catherine Ratte, a sustainability planner for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, said it is an honor to have been appointed to the Green Committee.
"I work professionally with the city, but as a resident I am really excited for us to move forward together and take action into our own hands to work with the City Council to achieve our goals for climate action, food security, for clean energy and the environment," said Ratte.
After word went out in January that volunteers were being sought to serve on the two new committees, dozens of people sent resumes and letters of interest to City Hall, according to Ramos.
"It was not easy to make these selections because there were so many people who showed interest in serving on these two committees," said Ramos. " It is a testament to the great city we live in that we have so many people interested in civic engagement."
The first meeting of the Green Committee is scheduled for this evening. No meeting has been scheduled yet for the Dog Park Committee.