Rhinebeck-Red Hook dog park on track

A proposed dog park shared by Rhinebeck and Red Hook looks like a go.

At a public hearing in Rhinebeck Sept. 24, only one resident spoke against it.

“I don’t feel that it’s a good idea to start a program like this that will affect only a small portion of Rhinebeck’s population,” said Paula Trimble.“At best, it’s a nice-to-have sort of thing, when budgets are being cut all the time.”

The proposed dog park would extend about half an acre, located “between the lower softball field and the soccer field” off Stone Church Road, according to Rhinebeck Town Council Member Bruce Washburn, who is in charge of the project on the Rhinebeck end.

The park will consist of an area surrounded by five-foot fencing in which dogs that are registered to use it can run off-leash. The initial start-up costs of $5,000 for fencing, gates, permits and ID tags would come from the town’s capital fund, according to Washburn.

“You’re right that we’re outlaying money now when things are tight,” Washburn told Trimble, “but we do have a way to get it back.” He said that it would cost dog owners $25 a year to register to use the park. “Because it’s on our property, we have to come up with the initial monies, and then if there are any enhancements, like extra equipment, that’s when Red Hook can kick in, and grants are available, too.

“We figured there is a 2½ year payback on the additional investment of about $5000. There’s no additional insurance cost, and the premise of this is that volunteers will take care of it. It’s one of those things that just makes it a little nicer to live in the community,” he added.

Washburn estimates that 100 to 200 dog owners will use the park, “based on research that we’ve done on other towns.”

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