by Terry Duffy
Lewiston Dog Owners Group has announced the grand opening for the new 1.3-acre Lewiston Dog Park will take place Saturday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will be held at the site of the new dog park on the Lewiston Plateau at the Portage Road entrance to Artpark.
LDOG spokesperson Molly Chamberlain reports a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 11:15 a.m. "At that time Brett and Jay Coppins will be formally recognized for the contribution of their ‘dog and man' sculpture, a longtime Center Street favorite," says Chamberlain. "Once the park is formally opened, members of the Lewiston Dog Owners Group will be on hand to help show pets and their owners how to get the most out of the park and its amenities."
Throughout the day, there will be demonstrations on canine ability by K-9 law enforcement dogs from local agencies such as Lewiston Police and Niagara County Sheriff's Department, as well as visits by area dog groups, she informs. "All dog owners and their pets are invited to attend and enjoy this exciting new addition to Lewiston Recreation."
For area residents unfamiliar with the new facility, she said the grand opening will serve to orient newcomers to the park, to show off the park and acquaint users on how it's intended to function. The park features two large fenced-in running areas, one for smaller dogs up to 30 pounds and another for large dogs 30 pounds and over, where dogs are allowed to run about unleashed. Both pens also include newly installed exercise equipment. "For many, the concept of a dog park was new, and so this whole venture takes some getting used to -- although the comments we've received so far have been positive," she says.
As far as guidelines, Chamberlain and LDOG spokesman Andrew Bell advise users there are no children under 16 years of age allowed inside the fenced areas at the park. "There have been some really young children there, and we certainly don't want anyone to have to get hurt to make a point: a dog park is no place for young children, for many reasons," says Chamberlain.
Both report that thanks to the kindness of the town, there is some canine playground equipment being installed. "The surface of this equipment has been treated to provide traction for the dogs. Children climbing on or sliding down the equipment with their shoes wears down the surface of this type of equipment much faster than the dog paws will. Please respect these unexpected amenities that are being provided for us -- the equipment is for the dogs only," says Bell.
Chamberlain and Bell urge users to acquaint themselves with the guidelines posted on the entrance areas to both running areas at the park.
And they report the LDOG members group will hold a work party on Thursday, Sept. 16, at the park in order to spruce it up for the grand opening. Those interested in joining LDOG in the effort are invited to bring rakes and stop by.For further information, contact Chamberlain at 754-2550 or Bell at 754-0100.