New Hyde Park resident Mark Klein has not given up on a dog run in Michael J. Tully Park, despite a 2013 review by a consultant that determined the park had insufficient space.
Klein, who wrote multiple letters to the Herald Courier in 2013 saying New Hyde Park was in “desperate” need of space for dogs to socialize, has made recent efforts to establish a community-based organization in support of a dog park after the town included one in its capital plan.
“My fellow dog owners lament the lack of such a dog run as our canine friends need an area to run, play and socialize,” Klein said in one letter. “Tired dogs are happy dogs which in turn lead to happier owners!”
The Town of North Hempstead earmarked $250,000 to build a dog park in its five-year capital plan, which reinvigorated Klein’s effort for an area for dogs to socialize in Tully Park.
But a consultant who reviewed a 2012 proposal to build a dog park at Tully Park concluded the location was “lacking…the amount of space one needs.”
“You need to have a minimum of one acre. If you don’t have an acre, there are a lot of different things that can occur,” said Marilyn Glasser, the dog park consultant.
The town is still in the initial planning stages for a park to build with the capital funding, a spokesman said, adding that while nothing has been decided, space, location and sanitation will all be taken into consideration.
“We are certainly excited for the prospect of having land dedicated for residents to exercise their dogs off leash,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in a statement. “We will also be working with our new Parks Commissioner to find the best location possible for this dog-friendly park feature. Nothing has been decided yet, and we are open to suggestions.”
Klein said he would rather see the town pursue smaller, “satellite” dog runs in lieu of a single large one.
“When I spoke to Judi, I mentioned she’s going to disenfranchise most of the people of New Hyde Park if they establish dog parks in another area,” he said.
Klein said that after a discussion with Jill Weber, the commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation, he took steps to establish the community-based organization to speak for the entire New Hyde Park area.
So far, the group has about 12 members, about four of whom would be willing to serve as officers, Klein said. He said he would like to increase membership to about 100.
Klein suggested that the western portion of Tully Park, which he said is underused, would have sufficient space for a dog run.
“Tully park is set up in a unique way — that [western] side is unused and there would be no interaction between dogs and the people in the park in general,” he said.
When the town was looking into dog parks in 2012, North Hempstead Beach Park was also being considered as a location, but was not pursued under the previous administration, the spokesman said.
He added that the town parks department would be responsible for running the park, but that Weber said “stewardship from the community” is also important.
“But it’s too early in the project to be more specific than that,” he said.
Klein said anybody interested in joining the organization can email [email protected].