The sun was shining brightly last Saturday as dogs and their two-legged companions filed into the newest county dog park, in Eisenhower Park, at the corner of Salisbury Park Drive and Stewart Avenue.
Volunteers with the Long Island Dog Owners Group, also known as LI-DOG, who took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony thanked county government officials for finally opening the park they’ve been requesting for years. “This is a wonderful example of government responding to their constituents and opening up a beautiful park,” said Christine Laubis, a longtime LI-DOG member, “and we look forward to working with the county again to increase access to parkland for Nassau dog owners.”
Laubis said she was grateful that her 5-year-old mixed-breed, Casey, has a place to run, but, she added, the process took a long time. She recalled originally helping collect 1,300 signatures for a petition that was submitted to the county in 2008. But county government changed hands when Executive Ed Mangano was elected in 2009, and the new leadership — and a depleted budget — greatly contributed to the wait, Laubis said.
Despite the delay and some minor issues with the new park — a small gap in the fence, for instance — Richard Infield, another LI-DOG volunteer who led the effort to create a dog run in Valley Stream, where he moved 13 years ago from London, said, “Today is not the day to complain. East Meadow is going to love this park.”
Hundreds of people and dogs visited the new park over the course of the weekend, and it seemed as if nearly every breed was represented. Some were so large that kids could have ridden them like ponies, and others so small that they could be picked up with one hand.
The nearly 1-acre park features two grassy, separate, fenced-in plots for small and large dogs, six benches, a shade structure, trash bins and water fountains, many of the items donated by Pet Supplies Plus. The local company, owner Stanley Lang said, was happy to sponsor the park. “We are Long Island,” Lang said, “and one of the things we like to do is to give back to our community.”
The county, Infield told the Herald, budgeted more than $100,000 for the park, but attracting a sponsor was critical to the project.