New barn construction underway at Shelton dog park

Construction of the new Shelton Trails Committee storage barn is underway. The new two-story barn replaces the red barn that was on the Shelton dog park property.

Construction of the new Shelton Trails Committee storage barn is underway. The new two-story barn replaces the red barn that was on the Shelton dog park property.

Shelton Trails Committee / Contributed photo

SHELTON — The city’s dog park was home to a barn raising last week.

A new two-story barn being built on the dog park property will be used by the Shelton Trails Committee, according to committee Chair Bill Dyer, replacing the small red barn built in the 1800s that is near collapse.

The contractor, The BarnYard, built the foundation and has erected the frame, and the roof, siding, doors and windows will be added this week. The Conservation Commission will provide the "hiker" weathervane, Dyer said.

“With 30 miles of trails in Shelton, the volunteer Trails Committee needs equipment for maintenance,” Dyer said, adding that volunteers typically spend about 100 hours per month clearing trails and performing maintenance. “The old barn at the dog park ... was bulging at the seams, both figuratively and actually. Safety and storage space became a major issue.”

Dyer said that a year ago, just as the pandemic hit, Trails Committee and Conservation Commission members met with Mayor Mark Lauretti to discuss a new barn for equipment with a second floor for meeting space. Dyer said all agreed that an 18-foot by 24-foot, two-story barn would meet the requirements.

The foundation was completed on May 5, and The BarnYard material and construction crew showed up the next day. Friday was “Barn Raising Day.” An expert crane operator and the Bethel construction crew erected the post-and-beam framing in three hours, using eight-inch oak dowels to secure the support structure.

A whetting tree was attached to the top of the framework, according to Dyer, “a tradition in the barn building community to thank the workers who safely raised the barn and to the forest for producing the framing wood.

“The City will outfit the barn with electrical outlets, lighting and second floor HVAC system, plus landscaping and bring water to the area,” Dyer said. “The Trails Committee will ‘fit-up’ the new barn with equipment hooks, shelves and maintenance benches. Removing all the equipment and supplies from the old barn will greatly relieve the stress on it.”

Last year, the Board of Aldermen approved borrowing $98,000 for construction. The building is on the grounds of the park, Route 108 and Nells Rock Road.

The funds are covering the foundation and barn, drainage, painting, utilities and lighting, storage shelves, second-floor insulation, meeting room furniture and rough-in work for septic piping.

In a letter to Lauretti, Dyer said there is water service on the property that will require extending a pipe to the barn, which can be done by the city. Dyer stated, in the future, a septic system and leach fields could be added for a permanent toilet facility, replacing the present portable toilet.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com