Will Four Times be the Charm?!
It has certainly been quite some time of behind-the-scenes tasks that brings me to the point of sharing some information about another potential location, our fourth try for a Canandaigua dog park since 2013.
In May 2015, the Canandaigua City Council unanimously voted “yes” in support for a city owned and managed dog park on Ontario Street, a parcel offered as a donation to the city. It was a major, though short-lived, victory for Friends of Canandaigua Canine Campus (CCC).
A month later we learned that the Ontario Street dog park site is comprised of federal and state-regulated freshwater wetlands and the DEC would not issue the required permits to develop the land. Without a viable location, the project stalled.
I issued a public appeal about the need for a new location and reached out to Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Specialist Thomas Lyon to explore the potential of undeveloped privately-owned parcels.
In November 2015, a potential site was identified and the owner was contacted with the help of a realtor, also a CCC volunteer. The land, an appropriate size and suitable to site a dog park, came with some challenges: it is partially comprised of wetlands and had also been the subject of a DEC spill case and investigation.
Several stakeholders–some city staff, council and volunteers, including environmental specialists– toured the nearly 4 acre parcel. There is approximately two acres of land that could be developed without impacting wetlands, an appropriate size for a dog park. A professional sketch created by CCC volunteer Karl Naegler was shared at a subsequent meeting with DEC representatives who deemed the dog park plan satisfactory—the sketch addresses the wetlands and the former spill. The concern of any development of this land is to avoid deep excavation that would potentially uncover issues that would re-activate the DEC spill case. A dog park build would produce minimal land disturbance, hence an ideal use of this challenging space.
The landowner’s company is involved in another legal matter and currently unable to shed any land assets as a donation. However, it is conceivable that the land could be donated at a later date or sold to the city now. While the Friends of Canandaigua Canine Campus dog park business plan, reviewed and endorsed by the City Council in 2015, includes funding avenues for a park build it does not include a plan/budget for a land purchase.
When the Environmental/Parks City Council Committee meets on May 10th, the dog park is on the agenda. The presentation we are planning will include:
1) A short review of the project history to date, especially for the benefit of new councilmembers;
2) an update on this new potential location (design sketch, budget and DEC input);
3) and exploring the possibility of buying this land for a dog park to expedite this long desired community amenity.
If you support a dog park in Canandaigua, please come to this vital discussion—your presence really matters and shows our City Council that a dog park is important to you! If you would like more information about this meeting, this project and how to contact city officials with your supportive comments, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Nancy E. McCarthy, Founder of Friends of Canandaigua Canine Campus (CCC)