Dog lovers lick pooch park foes

Kinderhook approves private group’s dog run plan

KINDERHOOK–“Hip hip, hooray! Hip hip, hooray!” chanted more than two dozen members of the Friends of Kinderhook Dog Park outside the Kinderhook Town Board meeting Monday night, August 16. The cheers were celebrating the successful conclusion of the group’s year-long quest for a community dog run in Volunteer’s Park on State Farm Road.

A few minutes before the impromptu celebration, the Town Board approved the not-for-profit organization’s plan in a 3-to-2, bipartisan vote.

 

The cheers quickly turned into discussions about who-could-do-what to start getting the site ready for the dogs and their owners.

“Are we clearing brush tomorrow?” one eager member asked. Another replied that someone’s husband may have a Brush Hog brush cutter to get the project started.

“Our first step is to clear some of the area that is overgrown,” Friends of Kinderhook Dog Park President Paula Van Meter said in an interview. “Then we have to put up the fence. We’re in the process of getting bids for the fence.”

The Town of Kinderhook is allowing the group to use the plot of land in Volunteer’s Park, near the current soccer and baseball fields. The Friends of Kinderhook Dog Park has raised about $8,000 to build a 6-foot-high chain-link fence around the area.

The expense for maintaining the dog park and the possible liability issues were concerns expressed by the two board members who voted against the proposal. Councilwoman Patsy Leader said she spoke to a few town residents who were concerned about the dog waste–how the waste would be removed and the cost associated with disposal.

“I can’t see the town having any expense toward it,” Councilwoman Leader said.

Kinderhook Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said the town has quite a bit of financial responsibility for Volunteer’s Park already. “It costs $10,000 to mow it each year,” Supervisor Grattan said.

He said he was concerned about adding more expenses with the town “down on sales tax revenue, down on mortgage tax revenue, and taking other cost cutting measures.”

Mr. Grattan also said he thinks the town should have a lease with the dog park group. “I have reservations about the liability,” he said.

The approved measure requires that all dog run users pay for a $20 permit to use the park. It was informally agreed that the town clerk would issue those permits.

Councilman Peter Bujanow, who voted in favor of the dog park, suggested the money collected from the permits be donated back to the Friends of Kinderhook Dog Park to help the organization maintain the area.

Councilmen Glenn Smith and Michael Kipp also voted for the dog run, both saying the agreement should be as simple as possible.

More information about joining the dog park and for construction updates is at the “Friends of Kinderhook Dog Park” on Facebook. The group encourages Kinderhook residents to post photos of their dogs on its Facebook page.  “We want everyone to look familiar when the park opens!” the page says.

Donations can be sent to: Friends of Kinderhook Dog Park, P.O. Box 166, Kinderhook, NY 12106.

Ms. Van Meter, the group’s President, says the dog park can help build community between all walks of life.

“The park will not only be good for dogs, it will be good for people too,” said Ms. Van Meter. “It will be a place where you can meet your neighbor.”

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