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Somers to Open New Park for the Canine Crowd

Ed Conte wanted to get a puppy when he moved to Somers six years ago. “But there was no place to walk it -- not a single park where you could exercise a high energy dog,” he said. He found a dog park in Bedford, but it was restricted to Bedford residents.

A couple of years later he ran into Somers Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy at the St. Luke’s Blessing of the Animals. Conte approached her with the idea for a dog park and she referred him to her fellow councilman, Harry Bolton.

Soon Steve Ralston of the Parks and Recreation Department was on board. They first tested the practicality of allowing dogs in town parks by opening Koegel Park to leashed dogs on a six-month trial basis. Everything went well.

Conte had noticed an unused site next to the Somers Highway Department on Route 100 which was owned and maintained by the Department of Public Works. “It was a safe location, it was centrally located, it was easy to get to, and it already had a driveway,” he said. “And there wouldn’t be a parking problem.”

The DPW agreed to give up the lot, which will become the Somers Dog Park . It needs very little site work, said Conte. “The biggest expense will be fencing. A five-foot chain link fence will probably cost $15,000 to $20,000.” Donations are welcome.

The plan calls for two dog areas: large dogs and small dogs. All dogs must be licensed. The park will be open to non-residents, but everyone will need to purchase a parking tag. The tag funds will help to support the park.

Conte hopes the park will be open by the fall. “Somers has a lot of great things for people with kids,”  he said. “But there are lots of older people who need a place to socialize and a place to take their dogs. Not everyone here needs a baseball field.”

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