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North Hempstead is again considering establishing dog park

(L-R) New Hyde Park dog owners Bob Pedone,

(L-R) New Hyde Park dog owners Bob Pedone, 73, with dog Ella, Charlie Rubin, 63, with dog Twinkie, Mark Klein, 65, with dog Piper, and Francine Wilbur, 57, with dog Wrigley, meet outside Tully Park in New Hyde Park, on a snowy Tuesday afternoon, March 3, 2015. The pet owners have been rallying for a dog park in the area. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Bark on?

Plans for a dog park are on the table again in North Hempstead, two years after officials dropped a proposal for one in New Hyde Park.

Supervisor Judi Bosworth's five-year capital plan, presented to the public last week, allots as much as $250,000 for building a dog park in 2016. Town officials declined to say where it could be built and are considering locations.

Mark Klein, 65, of New Hyde Park, said a community of dog owners was "disappointed" the town had not selected Michael J. Tully Park after a facility was proposed there in 2012, when Jon Kaiman was supervisor. Klein said he hoped the New Hyde Park site is being considered and suggested the money be used to build several smaller town dog parks.

"There are dog walkers all over here," Klein said. "The need definitely exists."

The town board had authorized hiring a consultant in 2013. Marilynn Glasser, the Brewster, New York-based consultant who is the author of a book about dog parks, was to be paid a maximum of $1,000. She had said the facility proposed for Tully Park was inadequate because the site is too close to ballfields. The town is no longer using a consultant.

Now Jill Weber, the town's parks commissioner since January, said officials are to "get the ball rolling soon" and are interested in hearing from residents about proposed sites. "We want to balance the needs of not only the dog owners, but the needs of the neighboring community," Weber said.

Key is finding dog owners to act as stewards of the park and propose a vision for it, she said. While the town would maintain the facility, "we're not going to police your issue with your dog day-to-day; those kind of things, people want to negotiate themselves," Weber said.

Weber was previously the Rockaways administrator for the New York City parks department, and helped create a dog park at Rockaway Freeway Park. There, a nonprofit helps manage the site called "ARF-ARF": the Allied Rockaway Foundation for Animal Recreation and Fitness.

The town has $5,258 in donations from The Shelter Connection, a nonprofit, to be used for equipment at the facility, town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said. The skills-training equipment includes a "paws table" and "crawl tunnel" that are in storage, Trottere said.

Officials had considered North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington in 2013 under the previous administration, Trottere said, but those plans fell through.

Bosworth said she will rely on "the guidance and the advice of our parks commissioner" and that the town is in the "early stages" of planning.

Other dog facilities within the town are at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn that is run by Nassau County; and in the villages of East Hills and Manorhaven.

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