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Dog Park in Ludlow Park

Report on Dog Park meeting with Parks Commissioner...
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It's been an exciting few weeks for the Dog Park in Ludlow Park (DPiLP?) project. Any day now we should be hearing from Augie Cambria, the Parks Commissioner, regarding his measurements and calculations, but for the moment, the ball is in our court to do the following:

(A) Organizing an event: Plan and carry out a way to engage the people living in the 3 buildings closest to the site. Without their support, the City will not be interested in going forward.

(B) Writing: Draft a formal petition to the City of Yonkers for their assistance, create a flyer to advertise informational meetings.

(C) Talking with other people: Go door to door throughout the whole neighborhood to collect ideas and get as many signatures as possible on the petition.

(D) Fundraising: The Dog Park will cost $$$. Exactly how much? When we see Augie's estimates, we'll have a much better idea. Meanwhile, we can contact various organizations devoted to building public green spaces to try to get a grant.

This is more than one person can do all alone! I'm hoping I can count on you join me in the satisfaction of knowing you've participated in making the Dog Park happen -- whatever it is that you're comfortable with, whatever you're good at doing or that you enjoy doing.

Please contact me through the Contact Us page and let me know how you'd like to be part of the excitement.

Thanks a million for your interest in the DPiLP,

Sent: Sun, Oct 24, 2010 7:42 am
Subject: Report on Dog Park meeting last Thursday: Progress!

Dear Friends of the Ludlow Park Dog Park (LPDP),

At first he didn't like it.

"He" is August (Augie) Cambria, the personable Parks Commissioner for the City of Yonkers. What he didn't like was the spot we had picked for our dog park.
That was at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, with the sun shining and an autumn breeze mixing with the roar of traffic. Augie was particularly troubled by the closeness of the site to the rear of the multi-unit residences that line Purser Place between Franklin Avenue and Culver Street. He worried that the people living there might object to the extra noise of a dog park.

In the half hour that followed his remark, he heard from more than half a dozen Ludlow Park residents in favor of the dog park as they struggled to be heard over the already loud noise of traffic on Riverdale Avenue.

* Ludlow Park Residents Association (LPRA) President, Nortrud Spero explained that our site was State-owned land. When Riverdale Avenue was widened a few decades ago, NY State bought up the land rights and tore down the apartments and homes that used to be there. The City of Yonkers will have to petition the State for use of this land.

* Our Yonkers City Council Member, Wilson Terrero, who was there with his Legislative Aide, Nerissa Vitora, confirmed his commitment to shepherding the dog park proposal through the City government and on to the State, once Augie draws up specific plans and cost estimates.

* I showed Augie a schematic diagram of our proposed land usage. As envisioned:

o New fencing (6' - 8' high, black) would begin a few feet from Culver St., and run along the western side of the walkway, stopping short of the utility structures at the Franklin Avenue end of the plot before heading west to the current fence.

o The nearly block-long fenced-in area would be divided into 2 separate and unequal sized pens, each with its own latched entrance gate leading out from an enclosed "common area" accessed through a single gate in the eastern fence.

o The smaller pen -- at the end of the property closest to the Hawthorne school -- would be set up to primarily serve smaller dogs. The remainder of the enclosure would provide a running area primarily for the larger dogs.

o The common area would create a double-gated safety zone in the event that a pet tries to sneak out. Dog park rules would be prominently displayed there alongside a station containing a community bulletin board and maybe even a dispenser for poop bags.

o Where possible, struggling shade trees would be protected -- hopefully by encircling them with benches. Dead and dying trees would be cleared, including the large termite-infested log leaning on the western fence. All debris would be removed, including the discarded sofa dumped there after the site was cleaned up last week.

o The ground would be covered with a base layer of non-degradable chips (for drainage) topped by a thick layer of wood chips that would be annually renewed.

* The dog owners attested to their willingness to take responsibility for maintaining the area once it is built. We also agreed to engage the support of the people living closest to the dog park and to collect signatures on a formal petition in favor of a dog park at that site.

As the discussion progressed, Augie realized that the proposed site wasn't so bad after all. :-) :-D8-)
He promised to come back to take measurements, draw up the formal plans, and provide us with a cost analysis. He pointed out that the last dog park that the City built (near the Greyston train station) was paid for primarily through private funds.

As he took away our ideas, Augie left us with the impression that he was behind our efforts and that he would do all he could for us to minimize costs.
-- Kathe
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