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Monday, April 21, 2014
Village News
Dog park to celebrate first anniversary
Christina Daly/Herald
Lola, a Border Collie mix, has a great time running around the park with her friends.

There were a few bumps along the way, but Valley Stream’s dog park has made it to its first anniversary. The park opened to the public last May 5 and, after a slow start, has become a hit with local dog owners.

According to Deputy Village Clerk Richard DeAngelis, more than 150 dog owners have registered to use the park, located at the Village Green adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road tracks. He expects the number of members to increase now that the weather is warming up. “I think now as we’re going through the spring and the summer, and we’re going to see more people on the Green,” he said, “you’ll see it start to rise.”

When the dog park opened, it had a surface of large rocks. Within a few months, village officials began making plans to replace it because the park was being lightly used. Dogs and their owners did not enjoy the uneven surface.

It was eventually shut down for a few weeks in the fall and artificial turf was installed on top of the rocks. Leaders say that was the change needed to help the park take off.

Richard Infield, president of Friends of the Valley Stream Dog Park, a non-profit group which supports the facility, said the park’s membership has more than doubled since the new surface was put down. He said even in winter, new people were signing up to use the park.

“It’s great that it’s a really well utilized facility,” Infield said. “The dogs love it. The owners love it. That’s what I was looking for when we first started lobbying for it.”

Michele Wallach said she brings her 11-year-old Labrador mix, Samantha, to the park at least once or twice a month. She said that she does much more frequently since the surface changed. “The rocks were terrible for her paws,” Wallach said, “but the turf is great.”

Infield said that many Valley Streamers have gotten a chance to meet for the first time because of the dog park. “Not only do your dogs have fun but you make new friends,” he said, adding that the dogs become friends, too.

He noted that there are even groups of people who go at the same time so they – and their dogs – can see each other.

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