by Susan Mikula Campbell
Another request for a dog park in the Town of Niagara is on the agenda for the Town Board work session Thursday, Aug. 16.
Kristina Baird, owner of Lily, Sadie and Ma Chien Cherie, hopes to have information on the probable cost of such a facility to present to the board.
The Town of Niagara resident has taken her pets to Lewiston's dog park.
"It's awesome, but it's still 20 minutes away from my house," she said. "Other than that, we have to go all the way to Buffalo."
Baird wants the town's permission to form a committee, advised by a Town Board member, that would look into using town land for a dog park and do fundraising to pay for it.
"In my neighborhood alone there are dogs at almost every property," she said in a letter to the board in June. "I think that our town would benefit from having a dog park greatly.
People who go to dog parks and socialize their dogs have more well-behaved dogs in general because of proper socialization skills taught to the dogs. Pet owners who frequent dog parks are generally more involved in the community and even set up doggy play dates on a regular basis. We are more involved with the SPCA and local rescues and enjoy helping out with different causes."
This isn't the town's first request for a dog park.
Sue Fulle, who walks her "granddog" Cooper at Lewiston's dog park, made the same suggestion last fall. She predicts there will be a lot of support for such a facility from pet owners in the town.
The only bone of contention would be where to put it.
Baird said the site should be someplace where possible noise and extra traffic would not bother nearby residents.
Fulle said one possibility that has been discussed is the area to the right of the main road into Veterans Memorial Park on Lockport Road, near where the town sets off its Fourth of July fireworks. This area is away from the playing fields located to the left of the entrance road.
Needed would be fairly flat land, with access to a water line to hook up a water fountain for the dogs, gravel for parking cars, garbage cans, arrangements for garbage pickup, grass cutting and recycling of water bottles that owners sometimes bring, Baird said.
Fulle, who is the town Zoning Board of Appeals chair, added that arrangements for security, snowplowing, development of rules for the park and possibly a bathroom for people also should be considered.
If it takes a couple years to do the fundraising and put in the ideal dog park, "it's worth the wait," she said.
Town Supervisor Steve Richards said the idea of a dog park is likely to continue to be tabled on the Town Board's agenda, until there's enough information on cost and location for the board to make a decision. Like other area towns affected by the economy, the Town of Niagara is trying to keep budget costs down for its taxpayers.
The best place for a dog park might not be at the town's main park, he said. There are several locations that could be considered. Colonial Village Park, for instance, is rarely used.
"Obviously, dog lovers love them (dog parks), so I think the concept is good," he said.