Dog park makes progress in Oneida
ONEIDA — A dog park in the City of Oneida has been a hot topic for local pet owners since word began circulating about it becoming a reality. The play park fit for canines has already passed its preliminary planning stages, and shovels have hit the dirt, as organizers inch toward project completion.
The endeavor is brought by the efforts of the Oneida Improvement Committee (OIC) and through a partnership with the City of Oneida, explained Joe Magliocca, member of the OIC. The nearly 22,000-square foot park will be located on city property just behind the City Parks and Recreation office at 217 Cedar St.
Magliocca detailed the progress thus far and outlined what’s to come.
Pre-existing fencing will merge with additional fencing to create a large dog area, small dog area, and a small gated entrance area. Within the park, guests and pups can take advantage of water fountains, waste receptacles, dog-treat themed benches, shaded areas, and lots of open grass. A woodchip-filled play area containing a variety of obstacles including a large ramp with a paw-print shaped cut-out at the top will be the centerpiece in each section, perfect for pictures, officials said.
Oneida Mayor Helen Acker added that two gated openings will be placed within each area to allow vehicles to enter in the case of an emergency. Dog park rules will be posted at the entrance.
Something she was particularly excited about was the addition of two fire hydrants for display only.
“The Oneida Improvement Committee has been working towards the creation of this dog park since the initial puppy paddle back in 2017,” Magliocca explained. At that time, the not-for-profit along with the Oneida Rec Department was helping a local 4-H group get their goal of bringing a dog park to the city off the ground. 4-H ran the puppy paddle — an annual fundraising event allowing dogs to play in Chapman Pool on the last day of the season before the pool closes — until 2019 when the OIC took over the project and created a dedicated subcommittee to move forward.
The dog park budget is just over $31,500, Magliocca shared. Major donors include the Gorman Foundation, the Oneida Savings Bank Community Foundation, Andy’s Tow Service, Community Bank, and others. Acker said some funding has gone through the OIC, while portions have gone straight to the city.
The city is responsible for site work and maintenance, Magliocca said. What can be completed through volunteer work will be done as such, he said, which may include building a few of the play pieces such as a “sit and pause” table.
The OIC will continue to fundraise to allow for upgrades and ensure costs won’t stall any components, Magliocca said. Donations can be made to the OIC via their website, improveoneida.com. The public is also encouraged to reach out to the OIC via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Acker said banners highlighting donors will be hung along the park fence.
“This will be unique,” Magliocca said with enthusiasm. “There will be no dog park that we know of in the area that’s going to look anything like this.”
As far as when dogs can get through the gates, “we certainly want [the park] operational this year,” Magliocca said. Nearly all parts are ordered, he said, it’s just getting everything in place as scheduling allows. “We’d like to think that by the fall we’ll have everything set and be able to have people come down with man’s best friend and enjoy themselves.”
“I hate to keep blaming stuff on COVID, but COVID really set us back a lot,” Acker explained. “So now we’re able to move forward. Once it started, now it’s moving along quickly.”
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