A Pathway Forward for 2013

Town of Bedford

Lee V.A. Roberts, Supervisor

321 Bedford Road

Bedford Hills, NY 10507


Dear Supervisor Roberts:

It is with pleasure that the Bedford Dog Owner’s Group writes to thank you and the Town for a productive partnership in 2012. The past year saw a new BDOG Board invigorated and working harder than ever with the Town of Bedford (TOB). A positive working relationship with Bill Heidepriem, our Recreation and Parks Superintendent, has helped to clarify communication with the Town and made the dog park a popular and beautiful destination for over 150 dog owners, their families and their canines.

As you may already know, BDOG donated five new park benches to the park in 2012, and the feedback has been positive. BDOG also donated funds to fully repair the three fenced areas of the dog park making these enclosures safe for all dogs who enter.

The combined donations of BDOG totaled $4,300.00 in 2012.

We hope to make even more of a positive impact in 2013, but it is time to seriously address and resolve some long-standing issues and enlighten some attitudes toward the dog park from certain sectors of the Town.

To that end, we present to you the following pages, “A Pathway Forward for 2013” so that long-standing issues may be resolved and so that BDOG may continue our commitment to the Canine Commons at Beaver Dam Park.

Sincerely yours,

Len Martello, President

Bedford Dog Owner’s Group


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Canine Commons at Beaver Dam Park

A Pathway Forward for 2013

Presented by Bedford Dog Owner’s Group (BDOG)


BDOG is increasingly concerned about major policy/budget decisions made by those who never use or even visit the park. BDOG’s recommendations reflect the needs and desires of those whose taxes and fees pay for the park. We would ask RPAC and the TOB to more carefully weigh the recommendations of BDOG in future decision making.


Issues relating to Aesthetics, Noise, Vehicular Traffic

BDOG objects to comments regarding noise and vehicular traffic while Westwood is operating a mulch facility on the premises - land designated for passive recreational use. BDOG understands there is a passive recreation stipulation from the original land donation to the Town. The noise of the operation (which now includes long hours on Saturdays and Sundays) and the many large trucks which rip up the roadway and leave dangerous debris behind are the real aesthetic, as well as safety concerns at Beaver Dam Park. The stench from the operation is also an issue at certain times, along with smoldering debris that has required our firemen to visit the site on numerous occasions. These safety and health concerns are real.

BDOG questions why this operation is being run on this particular tract of land, but if the TOB insists that this is a legal mulch operation, then monies collected through the lease of the land should be applied to the dog park for maintenance and operation. We think Bedford must consider this.

BDOG still maintains that raising the quantity of non-resident permits to 75, from the current 50, would be of economic benefit to the town, with no downside. BDOG asks the TOB to reconsider this request immediately.

References to Neighbors’ Concerns

Going forward, BDOG would like to know the frequency, nature and source of any such complaints that relate to the dog park, and are used in the decision making process. The few neighbors in the area are well buffered from the park. While their needs are an important consideration, the needs and desires of over 150 park users and their families must also be considered. It does not appear this is the case when making decisions about the Canine Commons.

Self-Sustaining?

Just as nobody expects other public parks to be self-sustaining, nobody should expect a public dog park to be self-sustaining. The park is an asset to the community just like our other parks. Homeowners have made decisions to specifically move to Bedford because of the facility, which raises property values for everybody. As you may know, we were awarded a Pet Gazette Honorable Mention in 2012, one of three Westchester Dog Parks so designated. Realtors know this and pass this information on to prospective buyers.



Concerns: Town Clerk’s Office

The following concerns exist and continue to be voiced by dog park users about how the Town Clerk’s Office serves the dog park:

• All dog park users were not notified by mail of their renewal dates in December. Some received the mailing, others did not. We need to resolve this inconsistency. The same is true of emergency email correspondence about the dog park - there is inconsistency in receiving the email “blasts.”

• BDOG has asked if it can be verified that the database for the dog park maintained by the Town includes both the names of owners and of their dogs. This is crucial for when we communicate complaints about aggressive or problem behavior. To date, we have received no word if this exists in the database, but it should.

  • Some non-resident applicants have asked to be put on a waiting list only to be told there is none. If they cannot get a tag, then they should automatically be placed on the waiting list. BDOG would like to be informed periodically of the status of this waiting list, and to have access to it.
  • Renewal fees should not be based on the calendar year, but based on when the fee was initially paid - i.e., if permit is purchased in November 2012, renewal should be November 2013, just like dog license renewals. Or, permits could come due the same month as the license, so both of these tasks are done in one visit per year.
  • We would like to see a reduced permit fee implemented for our senior citizens.

Portable Toilet Facility

There is no reason that a budget for the park does not include a portable toilet. This is a public park, our taxes support it, and BDOG understands that other parks maintain portable toilets in all seasons.

Enforcement and Safety

Again, BDOG strongly suggests that passes be checked at the gate more aggressively on weekends. Many of us run into non-tag users, especially on the weekends. It is not our place to expel these trespassers. The overtime in placing someone at the gate a few weekends throughout the year would surely be offset by new tag-holder fees. Please consider this beginning as soon as possible. We have also found used condoms in the parking lot, which indicates another type of activity is taking place in the overnight hours.

BDOG recommends that any dog awaiting a hearing/trial due to bad/aggressive behavior have their privileges revoked until the outcome of such hearing/trial. While we all believe “innocent until proven guilty” when it comes to human court cases, we believe it wise to err on the side of caution when it involves the dog park. After all, the park must be a safe space for all the canines and their people - safety must be the paramount concern.


What Does The Future Hold?


BDOG has identified the following projects in cooperation with the Town of Bedford, some which were initiated in 2012 and are still in the planning stages. We hope to complete them in 2013:


  • Resurfacing of entry areas to the large and small dog enclosures with Item 4 to improve surface and drainage
  • Installation of a shade structure in the small dog enclosure
  • Re-seeding the entry to the large dog enclosure and other areas as needed


BDOG hopes to continue our productive relationship with the TOB, and advance our ongoing mission to provide for the recreational needs of dogs and their people. We are very grateful to all those in our Town government who support our cause and the Canine Commons at Beaver Dam Park. Remember, the dogs thank you, too!


cc: 

Town Board 

Town Clerk

William Heidepriem

RPAC









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