Rhinebeck proposes joint dog park

Rhinebeck is proposing a dog park for both Rhinebeck and Red Hook residents.

Bruce Washburn, deputy supervisor for Rhinebeck, outlined the proposal at the Red Hook Town Board meeting on June 12. The park would be located in Rhinebeck, but would be open to residents from both towns and would be governed by a steering committee composed of residents from both communities.

Washburn said that he believed that, between the two towns, there would be enough interest and volunteerism to create a self-sustaining operation. “Those interested in it would be the ones running it,” he said.

In order to gauge interest, Rhinebeck provided residents an opportunity to sign up, he said, and in a two-week period, accumulated 40 signatures of people interested in using a dog park and 19 signatures from people willing to volunteer for the project.

He said that he was “very confident that volunteers can get it done.”

Rhinebeck has already approved a potential site for a trial program that might last 12-18 months, with the park open during certain hours or on certain days. According to Rhinebeck Town Board member Gina Fox, the land under consideration is “off Stone Church road behind the baseball fields”.

Washburn estimated that the startup cost would be around $2,000 per town, with the bulk of this expense going for required fencing. Dog parks typically contain large enclosed areas where dogs run off-leash for outdoor exercise. Some money would also be needed for signs. Residents would be required to sign a waiver taking responsibility for their dog, so that the towns would not face increased insurance liability.

Red Hook resident Paul Piastro , a recently retired Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department officer, has been working on the project along with Washburn. “I think we can do it,” he said. “I believe, from talking to people around town, that there is a big interest in something like this.”

Councilman Harry Colgan indicated that Red Hook’s recreation department had been approached by residents about a dog park in the past.

Washburn is set to meet with Red Hook recreation officials in order to brainstorm and recruit interested residents. The dog park will return to the board’s agenda on July 10.

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