A collection of Port Chester dog owners is hoping to convince the village to build a park that will allow their pets to roam off-leash and play freely.
As the residents gather electronic signatures for their online petition supporting the park idea, they are also looking to keep themselves out of the dog house with Port Chester taxpayers by coming up with fundraising efforts that will pay for the project.
Dina Goren, a member of the Port Chester Dog Park Facebook group, introduced the proposal to members of the Port Chester village Board of Trustees at their session Tuesday night. Goren explained that her family is among many "dog families" in Port Chester who would like to be able to play with their pets, off-leash, at a public park.
Sorry. No dogs allowed currently at Port Chester's parks.
Goren explained that she and other village residents would like to have an area similar to other so-colled dog parks in the area, which created a space for dogs to play off-leash by fencing off part of a park. Such parks have become popular throughout the area, with fenced in areas for dogs created in communities including New Rochelle (Ward Acres), White Plains (Brockway Place Bark Park) and at Grass Island in Greenwich, CT.
In presenting the concept to the Port Chester Board of Trustees, Goren said supporters of the dog park are seeking a safe, secure area for off-leash play.
The concept received unofficial support from village trustees, who especially were pleased to hear Goren explained that she and other members of the Port Chester Dog Park group want to help fundraise and seek grants so that the park could be created without funds from local taxpayers.
The idea of bringing the proposal to the village government developed after a discussion on another Facebook group, Making Port Chester a Better Place. That group has become involved with public safety issues in the village and has formed committees that meet to discuss key topics for improving Port Chester. The group formed in 2012 after a rash of violent incidents raised concern about crime in the village.
Prior to Tuesday night's discussion, members of the group said they have been focusing their efforts on research and checking the pulse of the community to see whether their is local support for a Port Chester dog park. The supporters of the project were hoping to have already met with members of the Port Chester ParkCommission, but that has not happened yet because of scheduling issues.
Park Commission member John Reavis said Tuesday that the commission looks forward to working with the dog part supporters in developing a plan for the possible creation of the park and working out details. Besides the initial cost for a dog park, Reavis said an issue that would require close attention is the cost for upkeep of a dog park.
The proposal has sparked lots of discussion online, including on Port Chester Patch and its Facebook page. A Letter to the Editor by Paola Garcia of Port Chester went into detail about the concept.
"For many of us, a dog is not just an animal, but little people in furry suits, who, from day one, become instant members of our families. They hold a special place in our hearts," Garcia wrote. "They complete us with their unconditional love, thus I feel compelled to do something in return for them, that’s why I support the creation of a dog park."
Garcia contends a dog park could provide a place for pets to play, but also resolve dog-related issues throughout Port Chester.
"We know some people may not like dogs or may be afraid of them, or maybe concern with their children being bit or attacked by a dog, so by having a dog park in OUR community, we can help prevent any unfortunate accidents," Garcia wrote. "We will also build awareness around curbing your dog. This can help reduce the amount of dog poop found on sidewalks, in residential areas and in the park. We hope a dog park, can also help reduce the number of complaints of barking dogs in the neighborhood, which is an indicator that our furry friends are asking for a place to release their energy. Moreover, if this park is created and we gain the support of the community, people will be able to gather and socialize at the park as well. People will be able to exchange their experiences, knowledge, training tips, and other related information with one another. A reader board could also be placed in the park, where other dog related services can be posted and shared, such as low cost grooming, boarding, lost pet flyers, adoption information, etc."
Here's some reaction the letter has received on Patch:
Having a bark park in Port Chester would be a great idea.I think its would benefit the village greatly. You ideas pro it are very compelling and I think that everyone should reconsider having a dog Park in this village where we have a high popularion of dog owners.
... the Dog playground will be funded through grants and donations ... This is a wonderful idea and I hope this group gets all the support it needs
Get rid of the over crowdiness in Port Chester first then make room for dogs. Just like we have other kids from other towns using our schools, we will have other dogs from other town in our parks as well, And if one of these dogs bites someone who is responsible if the person decides to sue, the owner of the dog or the village. Look at what happened in Bruce Park in Greenwich. Get your priorities straight people.
Rome is burning, and the focus is on where to let dogs run free. How about your yard? You don't have one? Why don't people think about these things first?
Here's some reaction the issued has received on Patch's Facebook page:
Sarah D. Baker I think it would be another boon for PC. We have a wonderful community of dog lovers and providing a place for the dogs to run and exercise would be good for the community as a whole. As far as concerns about cost, a PC dog license could be put in place to offset the expenses.
Keith Morlino There was a deep discussion on it in making PC a better place for at least a month and base on what I saw presented and heard it looked like a win win for PC. It looks like A lot of research went into it and is still continuing as far as taxes and what I heard last night at the BOT meeting, it really would not affect our taxes due to a fairly substantial volunteer support group who was at the meeting last night
Richard Gonzalez Renee Pesso Hernandez as long as I don't have to pay more tax I'm good with whatever they want but if I have to pay tax for something like that then heck no go in a friends backyard and have a dog party lol
Cesar Recinos Escobar You want to make PC a better place, start spending my tax dollars to fix the roads and hiring better teachers for our classrooms.
Deborah Dione Harris I think a dog park would be awesome...
Ismael Montes Ya all you want is a dog park but when I come with my NICE NON AGGRESSIVE PLAYFUL PITBULL YOU ALL GET SCARED I will support your park if you support my breed