Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Uncertain Progress of the Dog Park

In October--on October 15, to be exact--Mayor Rick Rector held a public meeting, described as a "community conversation," about a new city park to be developed on the remediated brownfield at Dock and South Second streets which was once the site of Foster's Refrigerator.

The plan proposed repurposing the existing concrete slab in the middle of the site as a parking lot and developing the area east of the slabin the front, bordered by North Second Street and Dock Streetas a public park and trail head for the Empire State Trail and the area west of the slabat the back, abutting the rear of Craftech, the DPW garage, and the waste water treatment plantas a dog park. At that meeting, no one raised any objections to siting the dog park in this location, except for one person who worried that there weren't enough trees on the site. Even Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann, who is credited with inspiring the opposition to siting the dog park in Charles Williams Park, seemed to support the proposed location.

Tonight, two months after that community conversation, a resolution was introduced at the Common Council meeting authorizing the mayor "to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Hudson River Valley Greenway, the Hudson Parks Conservancy, and stakeholders for a dog park [full disclosure: Gossips is on the board of the Hudson Parks Conservancy and is one of the stakeholders for a dog park] to develop a plan for the design and operation of a dog park and trail head. . . ." After the resolution was introduced, Council president Tom DePietro asked if there was any discussion. Among Council members, there was none, but at this point DePietro, uncharacteristically (since he usually defers public comment to the end of the meeting), recognized a member of the audience: Second Ward supervisor Abdus Miah. 

Miah parroted the same things he said last year when protesting siting the dog park in Charles Williams Park: "The people don't want it. The people don't want a dog park in the Second Ward." Not to be outdone in concern for her constituents, Second Ward alderman Tiffany Garriga chimed in her concerns that "we need to hear from the people." Third Ward alderman Shershah Mizan concurred. 

DePietro pointed out, "We're talking about a location that cannot be used for housing." Fourth Ward alderman John Rosenthal noted, "It's far enough away from the houses." Fifth Ward alderman Dominic Merante, who was one of the few aldermen who had attended the mayor's meeting about the plan, told his colleagues that the proposal had been "very well received." He went on to say, "This seems to me the ideal areafar away from the houses, far away from the neighborhood."

City attorney Andy Howard then weighed in, telling the aldermen, "One thing you will have from this [the resolution] is a design, so the public can express their opinion." Garriga reiterated, "The people in that area have their concerns."

In the end, the aldermen voted unanimously to pass the resolution


  1. "Policy 20 Access to the publicly owned foreshore and to lands immediately adjacent to the foreshore or the water's edge that are publicly owned shall be provided and it shall be provided in a manner compatible with adjoining uses."

    That entire area from Foster's to the North dock underpass is nothing but tidal foreshore, where Landgators are supposed to share with Navigators.

  2. If, as Supervisor Miah claims, "people don't want a dog park in the Second Ward," where were those people at the community meeting on October 15?

    If, as Alderman Garriga claims, "The people in that area have their concerns," what are those concerns? Are these the same Mill St. people who insisted that new people ("strangers") using sadly under-used Charles Williams Park were somehow a threat to their community?

    How far does the Mill Street veto extend? To a site not on Mill Street that is unusable for most other activities?

    At what point do these representatives and 'people with concerns' realize that being part of a city means balancing give-and-take for the greater good, not just defending parochial interests? We need to stop thinking of every development in Hudson as a zero-sum game.

    It wasn't that long ago that Mr. Miah was on the record against the Fair & Equal initiative saying that, as reported by Gossips, the proposed ward boundaries did not serve poor people and predicted that, were they to be adopted, minority representation on the Council would be diminished. He ended his statement by saying, "They will have no voice in the City, and it will be evil."

    If people in the community have concerns about a dog park on the Foster's site, they should speak up. But I, for one, am not prepared to give Mr. Miah the benefit of the doubt on much of anything.

  3. Six years ago, a wise old applettte court judge named Leonard Weiss spoke of "competitive" interests at North Dock. He offered an attempt to obtain a license for access to the fenced off wharf. That offer was ignored.

    Why would anyone exchange a natural right, a gift from mother nature the Faithful Lady, for a license from politicians in Albany?

  4. Policy 21 Water dependent and water enhanced recreation will be encouraged and facilitated, and will be given priority over non-water related uses along the coast.

  5. I was a bit taken aback by the comments from Miah, Garriga, and Mizan. This location seems ideal for a dog park, given its distance from residential areas, its proximity to other amenities, and restrictions on the lot. Wards, after all, are not fiefdoms, and public amenities provide benefits that go well beyond their boundaries.

    1. Why are you taken aback? Miah is the laziest, least capable member of the Hudson delegation at any level. He spent 8 years doing nothing on the Council besides holding down his chair. I imagine he fits right in at the BoS where nothing happens in droves.

      Tiffany Garriga has been befuddled by dogs since her tenure on the Council began. She literally couldn't tell goose shit from dog shit and assured everyone that the Waterfront Park lawns were covered in the latter when, of course, it was the former. She clearly doesn't know shit.

      As for Mr. Mizan, he's shown himself incapable of either independent thought or action. What a disappointment he is to us 3rd Ward voters who supported him. A mistake that won't be made twice by many I'm sure. His inability to think for himself seems only surpassed by his lack of ethics (see the land transfer to the Mosque vote).

      All 3 are blatant careerists seeking only to assure their own reelection to seats they occupy but do work in.

      So, why were you taken aback again?

  6. The town is going to the dogs ... woof!