By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – It’s not just dogs that will benefit from the proposed Oneonta dog park.
“There are a lot of dog lovers in Oneonta,” said Common Council member Michele Frazier, First Ward. “People who love dogs meet each other at dog parks, it fosters community.”
The dog park, which has been proposed several times over the past few years, was once again brought to the table during the city’s Operations, Planning and Evaluations Committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 26.
“Dog runs allow dog owners to safely let their dogs off the leash,” said Council member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward. “There are two fenced-in areas, the larger one for big dogs who need to run and the other for smaller and older dogs. We want to keep them separated.”
The Master Plan, available on the city’s website, puts the proposed dog park behind the picnic shelter and the skate park, though a previous park had been suggested in Catella Park.
“It would need to have means for owners to clean up after themselves, as well as space enough for the city to get in and maintain,” he said. “Ideally, there would also be a water source, but that is not an initial necessity.”
At OPEC, Rissberger said they agreed to let City Manager George Korthauer, Parks and Recreation and Engineering explore the costs, size and possible locations.
“A lot of dog groups recommend three acres, but some disagree that it needs to be that big,” he said.
“There are two ways of looking at it,” said Frazier. “One is to give a full dog park a chance, and the other is to reserve more of the park space for humans. But this is about humans and quality of life.”
When the city returns to OPEC with their findings, the committee has the option of bringing their recommendation to Common Council. “A lot of it depends on the Department of Public Works,” he said. “They still have a lot of projects to do.”
It will also need to be addressed in the budget, with costs ranging anywhere from $50-$100,000.
In the meantime, Frazier will ask for thoughts from her constituents during her annual ward meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18. “It’s important for me to hear what they want,” she said.
“I think it will all be done,” said Rissberger. “I’m confident Oneonta will have a dog park. I’d like to have it by next year.”