RAVENA — There may still be some work to do, but the new Ravena dog park was introduced to the community last Wednesday with a “Puppy Parade.”
Local residents and dogs of all sizes — from a massive Great Dane to a petite Chihuahua wearing a purple tutu — started out at the Ravena Village Building on Mountain Road and made their way through the village and to the park.
There, Ravena Mayor Bill Misuraca and volunteers grilled hot dogs and dished out a good time.
The dog park, located behind the VFW Hall in Mosher Park, is a project that has been in the works for some time. The land has been cleared and village officials are just waiting for the fence to be installed.
In addition to launching the new dog park, the parade was also a fundraiser to help pay for the fencing that is needed to enclose it.
“They are ordering the fence this week,” said Village Trustee Mary Ellen Rosato. “They are hoping more people will donate. If people couldn’t be here for the parade, they can donate money to the cause by sending it to the village offices.”
Rosato said that when she was campaigning door to door in the village earlier this year in the run-up to the election, she realized just how many dogs live in the area, and that a dog park would be a welcomed amenity in the community.
“When I was campaigning, everyone had a dog, so this is a nice way to bring people together,” Rosato said. “Maybe this will bring the community closer — through the dogs.”
The parade was organized by volunteer and local resident Andrea Salhoff, who has a German wire-haired pointer and a Chihuahua.
“We are doing a puppy parade to fundraise to pay for the fence for the dog park,” Salhoff said. “It will be installed by Ravena Fence Company, which donated their services.”
She said the issue of the dog park first arose when the mayor posted on Facebook a request for services people in the community would like to have and she suggested a dog park.
“‘Moose’ said to go for it,” Salhoff said, referring to Mayor Bill Misuraca, whose nickname is Moose. “The town donated the land, Carver Companies donated services by clearing the land for us, Quikrete is donating the cement for the poles, and Albany County did hydroseeding. This has been a real community effort. It’s good for the community and to bring people together, and gives like-minded people — those who love dogs — a place to get together and socialize.”
Salhoff said further fundraisers are also expected to be held in the coming months.
“We are fundraising until we pay for the entire fence,” Salhoff said. “We want this to be at zero cost for the taxpayers.”
Once the dog park is up and running, there will be a small nominal fee to purchase a license to use the facility.
Alan VanWormer brought his dog, Lacy, to march in the parade. Lacy had just returned home, on her own, after having run off for a couple of weeks. VanWormer said having a dog park in the neighborhood could help with that.
“This is very important for the community — you can take your dog there, they can run and get exercise,” VanWormer said. “I have a beagle who ran away for 26 days, and she came back by herself on Sunday. I think having a fenced-in dog park would help with giving dogs freedom to roam, run and play.”
Coxsackie resident Eileen Goble traveled to Ravena for the parade and said she hopes her community will also build a dog park.
“Where I live in Coxsackie they are talking about a dog park, so I want to see what is being done in Ravena and maybe we can do something similar in Coxsackie,” Goble said.
Danielle Northrup brought her dog Cooper to the event. “This is a great idea,” Northrup said. “I can’t wait until they get the fence up and get everything going.”
Village Trustee Nancy Warner said bringing a dog park to Ravena is another amenity that can be offered to local residents and newcomers.
“It adds to the community’s quality of life, and it’s another way for families and kids to socialize,” Warner said.
Anyone wishing to donate money for the purchase of the dog park’s fence can make out a check to Ravena Dog Park and send it to P.O. Box 58, Ravena, NY 12143.