The Register-Star reported today that the Common Council has rejected the plan to build a dog park in Charles Williams Park: "Council says 'no' to dog park at Charles Williams Park." Linda Mussmann on her Facebook page claims "a victory for the Mill Street folks" and thanks the Common Council for their resolution "to nix this idea."
The fact is Common Council approval was not required to build the dog park, because no public money is being used, and the Common Council cannot deny permission to build the park. The original decision to build the dog park at Charles Williams Park was made by Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton after two years of looking for an appropriate location. The language of the resolution simply says that the Common Council "wishes to express its opposition to the construction of a dog park at Charles Williams Park" and "recommends that the Mayor explore constructing a dog park at another location."
The resolution, which was one of a slew of resolutions that appeared for the first time at the regular meeting of the Council instead of being introduced at the informal meeting, came as a surprise to everyone except Abdus Miah (Second Ward), who, according to information received, was the instigator of the resolution. Aside from Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who offered her old argument that the people in that area lived in apartments and weren't allowed to have pets, and the people who wanted a dog park had backyards and hence didn't need a dog park, only Rick Rector, mayor elect but still alderman for the First Ward, made any comment before the vote was taken. Rector said that it was unfortunate that a conversation with Mill Street residents had not taken place before Charles Williams Park was designated the location for the dog park, but he objected to eliminating Charles Williams Park as a possible site before there was a community conversation about siting the dog park. "The community may select that park," said Rector. Nevertheless, when it came time to vote, Rector along with every other member of the Council, most of whom represent the 135 people who want a dog park and have contributed money to build one, chose to respect the wishes of the nine people who objected to a dog park being built in a public park adjacent to their homes and passed the resolution.
You can witness the entire dog park fiasco, as well as see Robert "Doc" Donahue accept a plaque recognizing his twenty-four years on the Council and hear Ed Cross interrupt outgoing Council president Claudia DeStefano's litany of thanks to rebuke the Council for evicting his congregation and selling his church to the highest bidder (actually there was only one bidder, who bought the property for the minimum bid), by clicking here to watch Dan Udell's video of the meeting.
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