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N. Hempstead officials drop plan to allow dogs at town park

Canines on leashes are allowed at some of

Canines on leashes are allowed at some of North Hempstead's town parks, but they won't be at Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Town of North Hempstead has dropped its plans to allow dogs into Clark Botanic Garden after hearing concerns from opponents during the past few weeks.

Council member Peter Zuckerman said during a town meeting Tuesday that his office and Supervisor Judi Bosworth’s office fielded concerns about dogs in the Albertson park. Zuckerman said he also received a letter from the Albertson Square Civic Association citing opposition to dogs at Clark.

“People were very concerned about preserving the garden and preserving its beauty,” Zuckerman said.

Last month, town officials announced that dogs would be welcome at Clark on Wednesdays. They would have to be on a leash and their owners would have to clean up any waste.

Canines on leashes are allowed at some of North Hempstead’s other parks, including North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington, the Mary J. Davies Green in Manhasset and Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park. The town plans to open its first no-leash dog park at Tully later this year.

Jill Weber, the town’s parks commissioner who has been spearheading an effort to make more town parks dog-friendly, said there has been resident input both supporting and opposing the Clark plan.

However, during Tuesday’s meeting, residents who live near Clark said they opposed the plan in part because dog owners at other parks don’t keep their pooches leashed.

Roellyn Armstrong, a Hempstead resident who volunteers at Clark, said botanic gardens in Brooklyn and Queens prohibit dogs and she added that the Clark Botanic Garden could be harmful to canines.

“Many of the plants there can be toxic and dangerous if chewed or ingested by animals,” Armstrong said. “These plants are not marked and owners may not be aware that their pets may have eaten them.”

Samuel Frank, of Roslyn, said that he has been a supporter of Clark and that the garden is “part of the joy of living here.”

“Please don’t ruin it for me,” he told the town council. “It’s smaller than the other parks and you can’t avoid dogs running around. You can have all the signs in the world saying ‘Dogs must be on a leash,’ but in the absence of any monitoring, those signs are ignored.”

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