Barking Continues over Proposed Dog Park in Irvington

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| by Zoe Kaplan | 

Irvington Village Hall was filled, on September 16, with community members eager to listen to the Village Board of Trustees debate a proposed dog park and its location.

Currently, the proposed site for the dog park is in the Irvington Woods. According to recreational superintendent Joseph Archino, the best choice for the community is a three-quarter acre park, with a quarter-acre for smaller dogs and a half-acre for all dogs. The proposed park will be bordered by a split-rail fence with wire to prevent dogs from getting loose, modeled after Yorktown’s dog park fence. However, in order for construction to occur, there needs to be environmental checks from environmental engineers, topographical research, funding, and, most difficult to achieve, the public’s agreement. Archino acknowledged, “Change is not easy,” but said he has high hopes for this location as a possible site for the park. He believes it will affect the least amount of individuals in the community.

However, there were still many residents who expressed disapproval. Because the park is in the woods, many are concerned about the detrimental environmental impacts it may have on the surrounding area. The site is a designated wetland that volunteers have been restoring, and the park will “destroy the tranquility around the reservoir, ruin the trail’s view shed, put the water quality at risk and diminish the great effort volunteers have already put in place to improve the area,” according to Irvington community member Amy Goldman.

The dog park is set to bisect the Hermits Grave Trail, changing the character of the Irvington Woods, and thus leading to some opposition from The Irvington Woods Committee as well.

Parking is another concern, as the current lot provides room for approximately 18 cars, including handicapped parking. While some maintained the number of spaces will be inadequate, Archino said his research has shown that on a regular weekday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the lot only has an average of four cars. He doesn’t believe parking will be a regular issue if the park is placed in the Irvington Woods.

Siding with Archino was the Irvington Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC), as well as a “Dog Park Committee,” led by Steve Schneider and Peter Agovino. Both of these groups will play a large role in the maintenance of the dog park should it be built.

Despite the long discussion, a decision is far from being made. The board and Archino intend to set up dates in October or November to make weekend times for the public to see the proposed space for the park. Furthermore, they intend on meeting again to discuss funding, as well as having a public hearing to further engage the community in the decision-making process.

“There’s no perfect site. There will never be one without opposition,” Archino said. “Pick another site and come back – the only difference will be the people sitting behind me.”

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