Tuesday, October 16, 2018

For Hudson Dogs: The Third Time's a Charm

Last evening, as I was leaving to go to the mayor's community conversation about a new city park, I made the mistake of telling Joey, "I'm going to a meeting about the dog park." Joey heard only two words in that nine-word sentence: DOG PARK. He started jumping in circles at the door, in gleeful anticipation of a trip to Germantown or Athens. Needless to say, he was confused and I felt perfectly wretched as I tried to walk back my statement and then gave him his Kong filled with peanut butter and left the house, promising I'd be back soon.

Joey's hopes for a dog park in Hudson have been dashed before, but this time it looks like it's going to happen. Last night, Mayor Rick Rector reviewed three sites that had been considered as a location for the dog park: Charles Williams Park; a site on North Second Street across from Hawthorne Valley Association's sauerkraut factory; and the newly remediated brownfield that was the former site of Foster's Refrigerator.

Of those three options, the Foster's site has been identified as the one. The site, which is approximately 2.5 acres, would serve two purposes. The area closer to the intersection of North Second Street and Dock Street would be developed as a trail head for the Empire State Trail, which passes right by the site on Mill Street and Dock Street, and a trail head for the proposed North Bay Trail, which would link Hudson with the Greenport Conservation Area and the network of trails to the north. The 1.5 acres toward the back of the site would be the dog park, with the concrete slab that already exists on the site becoming a parking lot for hikers, cyclists, and people visiting the dog park.

The images in this post thus far are from a PowerPoint presented at the meeting, as is the one below, which seems to dedicate far too much space in the park to cyclists and hikers and far too little to dogs.

I much prefer the concept drawing below, prepared by Hudson River Valley Greenway, which shows just the front corner of the site devoted to a trail head for the Empire State Trail. The actual design is still to be determined.

There are a couple of good things about this plan: 
  • In last year's ill-fated effort to build a dog park in Charles Williams Park, the money raised from two GoFundMe campaigns--one in 2014 and another last year--and a contribution from the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund would have all been used to fence less than an acre of land for the dog park. 
In the current proposal, there's already a fence around the perimeter of the site, so there is only the need to fence one side and provide some internal fencing for the entrance and to separate the large dog area from the small dog area. There will be money left in the dog park fund for park amenities--poop bag dispensers, trash cans, benches for humans, maybe a shade structure, perhaps trees and landscaping, if the Department of Environmental Conservation, which dictates what can happen on this remediated brownfield, gives its approval to planting things on the site.  
  • Hudson River Valley Greenway is providing the money for the trail head part of the park, and the funding for the dog park is coming from private sources, so the park can be created without any money coming out of the city budget.
The meeting was well attended, by dog owners and some folks not known to own dogs, and everyone present, including Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann, who mustered the opposition to siting the dog park in Charles Williams Park last year, agreed that it was a good plan. The dog park would be far from houses, with only Craftech Industries and the City of Hudson waste water treatment plant in near proximity. Finally, after more than seven years of advocating for a dog park in Hudson, it looks like it may actually happen.


  1. personally I would stay away from C Wms Park - I get bad vibes from the locals that could lead to vandalism and more animosity

  2. Carole, did you learn who the private sources of funding are?

    1. The "who" are many. It's the two GoFundMe campaigns and the contribution from the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund--all mentioned earlier in the post.