An online survey asks for answers on the dog park | Colombia County

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CHATHAM – An online survey asks local residents what they think of a potential dog park in Chatham.

Gianni Ortiz, a local storyteller who has extensive experience working with dogs, hopes to set up a dog park in Crellin Park. Ortiz created the survey in nine questions.

Ortiz said she hoped a dog park in Crellin Park could be included in the city’s overall plan.

“We have an aging population, like everywhere,” Ortiz said. “Their children are gone, but they have their dogs. There is this whole population that lives with four-legged people. They use the park now, but having a safe, off-leash area is a whole other thing. “

There is a strong demand for a dog park, Ortiz said. Grants are available which could cover the cost of fencing. The dog park would not require any additional tax.

Crellin Park was also discussed as a possible new location for the Morris Memorial Community Center. Matthew Wood, chair of the Morris Memorial Planning Committee, made a presentation at a Chatham Village Board meeting last week.

The current building was built over 100 years ago, said Wood. Over the next 100 years, the committee wants to expand programming to include seniors, the arts and other elements. The space also serves as a home for after-school programs.

“When we considered housing the future of the Morris program in our current Morris building, there were some limitations, particularly with regards to ADA accessibility in our building,” said Wood. “As such, the Morris Memorial Board of Directors approved a comprehensive study of the building which was conducted and completed in December 2018.”

The building survey found at the time that the cost of renovating the Morris building would be between $ 1.5 million and $ 2.5 million. Wood said the Morris Memorial Board had decided it would be prudent to explore possible alternatives to the current space on Park Row.

“I’m a relator,” Ortiz said. “If they can’t afford to take care of their building or fundraise for it, how are they going to be able to do the rest is a little ridiculous.”

The Morris Memorial serves as a community space as well as a space for youth sports and after-school programming.

“I’ve been to a lot of dog camps and helped start other dog parks, it would just be a great place,” Ortiz said. “These people are already here to walk their dogs.”

The survey asks respondents a series of questions such as if they would like to see a dog park in Crellin Park, how many dogs they have, if they would like to see features in a dog park like a flushing area, whether they would be willing to pay an annual fee for the use of the park, whether they would be willing to volunteer at the dog park, and whether they would be willing to donate to the park establishment.

The survey has had around 50 respondents so far, Ortiz said. She hopes to get at least 150 people to respond. When she has all the results, Ortiz said she will present them at a city council meeting.

“I want to include it in the overall plan. We have the perfect site for a dog park, ”said Ortiz. “A big and beautiful lawn, right by the river, we have big huge trees that the dogs cannot kill, there is already water there, there is a grant that could cover the fence . “

Most of the people who have responded to the survey so far have said they would accept an aggression test for their dog to be in the park, Ortiz said. An aggressive dog can ruin a park for anyone, she added.

“People love their dogs and dogs love other dogs, and we’re just trying to spread the love,” Ortiz said.

Some of the city council members Ortiz said she worked with are a pro-dog park, she said.

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