Town officials have settled on a dog park as the best use for 20 acres of town-owned land on East Line Road north of Route 67.
A committee that developed the plan believes it can be done at no cost to taxpayers.
“We’re really very excited. We really can’t wait to have this open,” said Town Clerk Flo Sickels, who chaired the Happy Tails Dog Park Committee.
The town doesn’t have any places where dogs can legally run off-leash. Others local communities, including Clifton Park, Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs, have established special parks where dogs can be exercised.
Supporters believe the first phase of the park could open this year, though they presented a three-year plan that would have a total cost of about $100,000.
The committee believes that the park can be built without any major investment by the town by charging an annual user fee of $7 for town residents and $12 for non-residents. The charges are intended to cover construction and operating costs.
“No burden will be placed upon the taxpayers of Malta for park development and regular dog park-related maintenance and upkeep,” the committee stated in its report to the Town Board.
As proposed, the park would include three fenced-in areas where dogs could exercise off-leash, as well as sanitation stations for dog waste, parking and eventually restrooms for humans.
The park would be located at the former Michalko property at 584 East Line Road. The town bought the property for $300,000 in 2006, thinking it had future recreational uses. Wetlands eventually ruled the property out as a site for athletic fields. The town has torn down the house that sat on the property, though a barn remains. The land otherwise is vacant.
A dog park had been one of many uses suggested over the years, and the committee was formed in early 2012 to develop plans.
Sickels, whose office issues dog licenses, estimates there are about 1,000 licensed dogs in the town — and probably nearly as many that are kept in the town but are unlicensed. The park would only be available to the owners of licensed dogs that are well-behaved.