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Scarsdale Forum Celebrates New Officers and Endorses Study on the Feasibility of a Dog Park

MLandJon3Outgoing Forum President ML Perlman shares a laugh with incoming President Jon Mark.The Scarsdale Forum celebrated their former leaders and greeted their new slate of officers at their meeting on Thursday May 17. Taking the reins as President is former Scarsdale Mayor Jon Mark, a 40-year resident of Scarsdale. During his last year as Forum Vice President with Forum President ML Perlman, Mark chaired the Freightway Steering Committee to examine options for downtown development and also ran the campaign for the Citizen’s Non-Partisan Party election in March, 2018.

Mark’s VP will be Tim Foley who is currently a member of the Scarsdale Village Planning Board and previously served on the Scarsdale Advisory Council on Human Relations, in addition to serving on the Scarsdale Forum Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He has an extensive background in public policy and politics, having served on the steering committees for a number of community-labor coalitions, issue advocacy campaigns, and grassroots organizations across eight states and the District of Columbia. In 2014, he served on the Public Health Committee for the Transition Team for Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and was also a member of the Paid Sick Days Advisory Committee for the Department of Consumer Affairs for the City of New York. He currently works for Scarsdale’s own Assemblymember Amy Paulin.

Forum members also elected Randy Guggenheimer as treasurer, Richard Pinto as secretary and Eric Cheng, Alexander Harrison and Karen Smith as directors-at-large.

Foley said, “When I first moved to Scarsdale, the first and best piece of advice I received was, arestandfoleyTrustee Justin Arest with newly appointed Forum VP Tim Foley. that if I wanted to be involved deeply in civic life, I had to join the Scarsdale Forum. Jon and I have a shared vision of how we feel Scarsdale Forum can contribute to the community, and I will be looking for every opportunity as vice president to share the advice I was given and encourage residents – whether long-term or recent arrivals -- who seek to be more involved to find their home, as I have, in the forum." He continued, "Residents should know that the Scarsdale Forum is open to all in the community who wish to have thoughtful discussions about, and express their views on village matters.”

According to Mark, “This is very exciting for the Scarsdale Forum and its members. Further, I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to work with Tim, Randy, Richard and our new directors-at-large. I know that our organization will be all the better for Tim’s leadership and the involvement of the newly elected officers and directors.”

Dog Park

Also at the meeting, Madelaine Eppenstein who chairs the Forum’s Municipal Service Committee reviewed the results of the committee’s study on the development of a dog park in Scarsdale. The committee did an extensive study of dog parks in other areas and produced a list of factors to consider when creating a park in Scarsdale.

The 13 page report outlines many points to be considered including the costs of building and maintaining a park, the size of the park, the surface, shade, parking, rules for conduct, waste removal and use by non-residents.

Eppenstein acknowledged that the report does not recommend a particular site in Scarsdale for the location of the park. That decision was intentionally left to the Village staff and Board to determine. However, the report quotes Marilyn Glasser, a former parks superintendent who has been retained by several Westchester municipalities to consult on dog parks. Glasser recommends that the dog park be about one acre, have a relatively flat grass surface and be enclosed with a chain-vinyl fence with a minimum height of five to six feet. A water fountain should also be installed. Other requirements are handicapped accessible parking nearby and that the site not be too close to homes.

They estimate that it will cost $50,000 to build the park and ongoing costs to maintain it and clean it. One local municipality spent $14,015 on annual costs.

dogparkThe report finds that dog parks are not only good for dogs, they have “significant positive social outcomes for dog owners.” In Meridan, Idaho they found, “Because dogs are natural ice breakers, they can help to spark a conversation that might otherwise not happen. Discussing the breed of their dogs, temperaments and funny quirks are all topics you might overhear during a visit to a local park, not unlike parents discussing their children playing on the playground.”

The report recommends that the Village Board and staff convene a working group to consider the feasibility of constructing a dog park, the siting of the park and the funding, perhaps seeking private contributions for the construction.

Commenting on the possibility of a dog park in Scarsdale, one dog owner hoped it would it be built. She said, “I am tired of paying the $100/year non-resident fee to use Ward Acres Dog Park in New Rochelle. It would be good to have our own right here.”

Read the entire report here

(Photo credit: Lisa VanGundy)

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