Members of Friends of the Valley Stream Dog Park believe that the village’s recently renovated facility is a winner. So they took the opportunity to show it off to members of the public last Saturday afternoon.
The dog park, which opened in May, was lightly used for months because dogs and their owners did not like the large rocks that were put down as the surface. Village officials, unhappy with the park’s lack of usage, spent about $20,000 to install artificial turf instead.
That seems to have made a difference. “It’s much better,” said Valley Stream residents Gina Scafiddi. “My dogs hated the rocks. They wouldn’t even play.”
Scafiddi brought her two dogs, Bruno and Charlie, to the park on Oct. 27 for a re-opening celebration hosted by the Friends group. It was her first time back since the new turf surface was put down. She gave the park a try with the rocks, but it was not a hit with her dogs.
With the new surface, Scafiddi says she will come to the park often, as it is near her house. She also noted that it is clean and well-maintained.
Howard Morris, of Valley Stream, came on Saturday with his dog, Bandit. Morris also brought his dog to the park when the rocks were down, but eventually stopped coming.
“I like this,” he said of the turf. “This is beautiful. It’s a nice change. I think it’s the best thing and the dogs don’t hurt themselves.”
Morris said he will bring Bandit to the park every morning as long as the weather is nice. Last Saturday, he was also joined by his grandson, 16-year-old Kevin Nelson, who ran around the park with Bandit.
Richard Infield, president of the Friends group, says the purpose of Saturday’s event was to get people back to the park who may have been turned off by the rocks.
Infield said that he wants to build the park’s membership. It is open to any village or Central High School District resident for an annual fee.
Now that the issue of the surface is fixed, Infield said there are a few other issues to address. Now that it is getting dark earlier, he would like to have the lighting improved at the park so people can bring their dogs to the park in the evening. The area for small dogs also needs shelter, he said, and he would like a locking system for the gates.