To the editor:
For the last year, the Portsmouth Dog Park Committee has had the pleasure of working with students from Salve Regina University and the University of Rhode Island. We turned to …
To the editor:
For the last year, the Portsmouth Dog Park Committee has had the pleasure of working with students from Salve Regina University and the University of Rhode Island. We turned to them for their fresh perspective on the park’s value to the community and for their ideas about its future.
Take Nolan Jolicoeur, for instance. As a junior in the Mathematics Department at Salve Regina University last year, Nolan designed and implemented an ambitious plan to collect attendance data from newly installed trail counters at the park. He developed an online database and a user-friendly dashboard to graphically illustrate how many people and dogs use the park during different times of the day, days of the week, and seasons of the year.
Nolan even managed to mine the database of the Iowa State University Environmental Mesonet to compare attendance relative to the weather conditions. What did he teach us? We found out that an average of 150 people use the park each day with some weekend attendance reaching as high as 300 — twice as many as we had originally estimated.
Nolan came to us thanks to Stacey Carter at Salve’s Center for Business Outreach. She also introduced us to Professor Teresa Starzecki, whose Business Research Methods class appeared in the dog park one fall morning to design the questions for Nolan’s online survey. What we learn from that survey will help quantify the park’s economic impact on the community. We invite those of you who frequent the park to scan the QR code at the park, or on our Facebook page, or on our website at portsmouthdogparkri.com, and answer just 11 easy questions. Thank you!
As we thought about incorporating landscaping into our plans for expanding the park, we asked Professor Richard Sheridan, chair of URI’s Department of Landscape Architecture, for advice. A few months later, 15 upperclassmen from his landscape design class were tromping through the thickets on the proposed site. They observed the angles of the sun and shade, studied the moisture content of the soil, and identified native and invasive plants.
For their fall class project, Mr. Sheridan asked each student to unleash their imagination and create a landscape design for the site. Admittedly, some of their ideas would break our budget, but each student made a valuable contribution to our vision for the park. We invite you to see some of their designs which are on display on the ground floor of the Portsmouth Town Hall during May. Which ones do you like?
We are extremely grateful to all the students and their professors for helping us learn more about the Portsmouth Dog Park, its value to the community and its potential for improvement. As a retired educator, I am very pleasantly reassured that the next generation of citizens will be good stewards of our public parks.
Jane Regan chairs the Portsmouth Dog Park Committee.