Scarsdale Forum Finds Compelling Case to Consider Dog Park in Scarsdale
Municipal Services Committee Reviews Feasibility, Siting
and Funding Issues, While Leaving Decision to Village Board
SCARSDALE, NY (5/21/18) -- The Scarsdale Forum Municipal Services Committee has released an initial report on the feasibility of an off-leash dog park in Scarsdale. The report considers appropriate siting of such a facility, funding issues, and other factors, such as public health and safety, code enforcement and parking.
In preparing its study, the committee met with Scarsdale Parks, Recreation and Conservation staff to discuss their industry knowledge and experience managing issues typically associated with dog parks; researched the experience of other, similar communities in overseeing dog parks; and sought guidance in how to best create and maintain the facility from a veterinary perspective. It found a compelling case for Scarsdale Village to consider a dog park, and noted a number of typical features and management procedures associated with such facilities, as well as potential challenges that may be encountered:
Most municipalities do not use or hire staff to monitor or enforce dog park regulations;
Parks and/or public works departments usually maintain the parks;
Fees do not cover the initial, and often ongoing, costs of construction, maintenance and repairs;
Minimum surface required generally is one acre;
A separate, fenced area is typically reserved for dogs under 25-30 pounds;
Access to a water source or fountain is provided;
Biodegradable/compostable waste bags are provided, along with sufficient disposal receptacles;
Users are required to keep registration/vaccination/identification information on dog collars, sign "hold harmless" agreements, and purchase permits;
Dogs involved in fights must be separated and removed from the park, regardless of which dog provoked the confrontation;
Patrons may fail to repair holes/ditches dug by dogs;
Dog walkers may arrive with unauthorized/excessive number of dogs;
Owners may arrive with dogs not spayed/neutered;
Handlers may fail to obey park rules; and
Unattended, unsupervised children or dogs may be present in park.
After reviewing a these and other issues, the committee recommends that the village examine:
The feasibility of constructing a dog park;
An appropriate site for the facility, taking into account community views and homeowner concerns;
Funding that covers the costs of construction, equipment, surfacing, fencing, gating, signage, water sourcing, maintenance, repair and related costs, as well as fee structuring and, possibly, private contributions, to defray some of the initial and ongoing costs;
Other factors, including, but not limited to, public health, safety, enforcement of rules, regulations and permitting, accessibility and parking; and
Convening a working group comprised of village trustees and staff, a representative of the Municipal Services Committee and members of the wider Scarsdale community to study these issues.
In discussing the initial report, Municipal Services Committee Chair Madelaine Eppenstein stated, "Communities that have created dog parks report significant social outcomes for dog owners, in addition to the obvious play and exercise opportunities for dogs." She continued, "A welcoming community spirit motives those who advocate for a dog park in Scarsdale, and who consider a dog park an essential amenity that would support their and their pets' quality of life within the village."
A copy of the report is available here.
The Scarsdale Forum is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to community education through discussion and analysis of issues relevant to Scarsdale residents. Since 1904, it has contributed meaningfully to Scarsdale Village affairs through its written reports, public speaker events, and committee discussions. Membership is available to all Scarsdale and Mamaroneck Strip residents, regardless of citizenship status.