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A ‘paw-some’ park opens

Town officials unveil dog run in Baldwin

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Dog owners and their furry friends attended the grand opening of a dog run in Baldwin Harbor Town Park on Jan. 15.

Town of Hempstead officials gathered in the park, at 3232 Grand Ave., to make the announcement and encourage dog owners from around the town to visit the new facility, by the water near the skate park. Baldwin residents had inquired about the status of the dog park on social media for months before the grand opening.

“Baldwin Park has so many great features — soccer fields, a spray park, a skate park, baseball fields, tennis courts — it really is a great spot, but now there’s even a better addition,” Town Supervisor Don Clavin said at a news conference, where he was joined by Town Clerk Kate Murray, Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll and Council members Chris Carini, Anthony D’Esposito and Tom Muscarella. “It’s so important because people are looking to get outside during this pandemic.”

The new park provides an opportunity, Clavin said, for residents to come outside, bring their dogs along for exercise and enjoyment, and socialize safely as they adhere to safety protocols. Visitors must wear masks and follow social-distancing guidelines to help keep others safe amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials added that, with the goal to expand the program, dog parks would also be opened in Oceanside and Levittown soon.

“We’re excited about this,” Clavin said. “This has been something that we were hoping to do last year, but because of the pandemic, we didn’t do the official opening of it until today.”

The grassy dog park measures 60 by 110 feet and is divided into separate sections for small and large dogs. The facility also features two dog water fountains, four benches and three dog waste containers — all of which were installed in-house by Town of Hempstead personnel.

D’Esposito, who brought his puppy Roo to the park, thanked the Civil Service Employees Association workforce and the town’s commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Frank Zangla.

“Each dog park and dog run that has been installed and built in the Town of Hempstead that will be opening in the next few weeks were all done in-house,” he said, by a “talented workforce who really put their minds together to make sure that we could provide a safe space for not only our residents, but our four-legged friends.”

The councilman added that it is important during the pandemic for people to get outside and take their minds off of things and take part in activities — especially with canine companions — that are socially distanced.

The Baldwin facility is the second dog park opened by the town. The first was a 14,000-square-foot facility at Newbridge Road Park in Bellmore.

“It’s been a great success,” Clavin said of the first dog park, opened in 2016. “Residents like it, but not everybody lives in that area.”

“Dog parks are a fabulous thing for our dogs,” said Valley Stream resident Pat, who declined to provide her last name. “Most of us don’t have yards large enough to let — especially our big dogs — really run and get good exercise, so these dog parks are a great thing for us to have — to access — and I love that we have so many of them now.”

She said she and her dogs, Kylo and Mel, like to visit different dog parks around town because they meet different people and dogs.

“Baldwin Park offers so much for the local community,” Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby said in a statement, “and we are proud to add this dog park to make it even better for our residents.”