Some Pups and Their Peeps Say ‘Yes.’
A Dog Park should be included in
Nyack’s Comprehensive Master Plan
by Dave Zornow
Nyack, Feb 23 — The Village of Nyack has made a concerted effort to include many constituencies in its Comprehensive Master Plan conversation. Our upright community has been asked to weigh in on issues like land use, open space and infrastructure. But an important minority feels their views are not being considered, just because they don’t walk upright.
“When it comes to best practices for land use, who would know better than me and my friends?” says Scout Zornow, a floppy-eared rescue from 4th Ave. “We cherish this village and work hard marking our community’s boundaries. It’s time we got our own space to run free.” Scout came to Nyack about 3 1/2 years ago from Hopeful Tails rescue at Dapper Dog.
Life on a leash can be hard. And many other communities have found that a dog park, where pups and their two legged peeps can socialize, is a valuable community asset. It can serve as a recreation space for dogs and a modern “village green” for their owners and village visitors. “When I’m out walking and see my friends across the street, I’m never allowed to run over to see them,” says Betsy, a miniature poodle from Upper Nyack. “If we had a dog park, I could run free and greet my friends whenever I want.”
Who Let These
It’s nice to hear from the dogs, but only owners can make a difference. You can email, phone your elected leaders as well as attend Nyack’s public Comprehensive Plan meetings. You can take the village’s Comprehensive Master Plan online survey (open to residents and non-residents) to share your thoughts on dog parks, zoning, waterfront and infrastructure.
You can also email the Nyack Village Trustees as well as attend the next Comp Plan meeting on Wed Feb 24 at 7p at the Nyack Center.
If stats mean anything, the dogs have it. About 44% of US households have a dog according to a recent survey, a number that is likely higher in the neighborhoods near Nyack. Dog parks are the fastest growing kind of city parks. Although Nyack isn’t technically a city, it has city-like population density, the highest in Rockland County.
Curiously, the current community process to update Nyack’s Comprehensive Master Plan update hasn’t considered any canine amenities, which is weird, considering how many residents, visitors and friends of the Nyacks own dogs.
Zam, a well traveled black lab / dachshund mix who is a frequent Nyack visitor, says that dogs and their owners share many of the issues, and that dog parks can address them. “Many behavior problems are caused by a lack of physical and mental activity. And that’s a problem dogs have too!” she quips, citing WebMD.” Zam notes that many pups spend the majority of their time alone at home, napping on couches and eating homework. “This leads to many of us becoming lonely and overweight. We have excess energy and no way to expend it, so we do what we can to pass the time. I personally have taken up knitting and Internet gambling, but would much prefer to spend time outside with my four legged friends,” she says.
“A dog park in Nyack is a idea whose time has come!” says Harry, a calm, collected poodle who lives near the river. “I don’t currently seek out dog parks anywhere, but frequently head in the direction of Memorial Park with my owners for daily jaunts.” Harry says it’s nice that there’s a park for people, but the many pups of the Nyacks need a place they can call their own. “Memorial Park is tops as Nyack’s fave recreational area. But I would be happy if we had our own special place, too,” he barks.
All people may have been created equal, but there’s a case to be made for letting the big dogs have their place. Many communities have found that providing segregated areas for bigger and smaller dogs inside their dog parks is the right way to mix breeds and sizes. “I’m basically afraid of most dogs, so I’m not sure I would go to a dog park unless it helps keep me safe from the big dogs,” says Choco from Sickles Ave. Many communities have found that separate areas for big and small dogs are a winning solution for smaller or timid dogs and their concerned owners.
Even the dogs who say they wouldn’t go to the park endorse the idea for their four legged brethren. “I’m very old these days, so I have no interest in playing with other dogs,” says longtime Nyack resident Thunderboy. “A few sniffs around a dog park and I’m done…but I would LOVE the walk there and back,” he says.
The next Nyack Comprehensive Plan meeting is Wed 2/24 at 7p at The Nyack Center. The public, inside and outside of Nyack, is encouraged to take an online survey to tell elected officials about how they see Nyack today and how they see its future. There’s nothing specifically in the survey about adding a dog park, but you can add “Additional Comments” at the end of the survey. Readers are also to use their Facebook or Google logins to add their comments to this story on NyackNewsAndViews.
- U.S. Pet Ownership, Community Cat and Shelter Population Estimates, National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association and the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) via The Humane Society of the United States
- Fastest-growing urban parks are for the dogs, USA today 12/8/2011
- Dog Park Behavior and Etiquette Tips, WebMD
- Nyack Comprehensive Master Plan online survey
- Hopeful Tails pet rescue