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Apr 22, 2019 2:25 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Dog-Friendly Fundraiser Will Help Raise Money For Proposed Dog Park In East Quogue

Brian Babcock's plott hound, Lady. VALERIE GORDON
Apr 24, 2019 9:29 AM

The New Moon Cafe in East Quogue will welcome community members—and, perhaps more importantly, their dogs—on Sunday, May 19, to raise money for a proposed dog park in the hamlet.

Brian Babcock, who has been spearheading the effort to build the park on Head of Lots Road in East Quogue, has been working with Southampton Town officials to iron out the financial details.

Mr. Babcock, who partnered with Julie Crowley of the Rotary Club of Hampton Bays last May, had high hopes to have a fenced-in dog park built on the secluded town-owned lot by this spring. He said last week that those plans were met with hesitation from the Town Board at a recent board meeting once estimates showed that the park would cost roughly $71,200.

According to Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, the most expensive aspect of the proposed Pine Neck Meadows Dog Park would be the 3-acre span of chain-link fencing, which will cost roughly $56,000, and include separate sections for small and large dogs. Entrance gates for both sections are estimated to cost an additional $480.

“That’s where we need to step in,” Mr. Babcock said.

He said last week that he hopes that the fundraiser will significantly cut those costs, noting that he may consider building the fencing in phases. He added on Tuesday that he hopes to have the fences installed by June.

At $40 per admission, he said that more than 50 pet owners have already committed to attending the event next month. “I know there are lots of people that want to be there and support it,” he said.

The indoor-outdoor event, which will run from 3 to 5 p.m., will include passed hors d’oeuvres, a casual hamburger and hot dog barbecue, and a cash bar.

Additionally, Teresa Meekins, the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation’s senior medical director, will bring adoptable dogs to the event.

Mr. Babcock is also hoping to secure several vendors, as well as get some help in putting together a few dog contests, with categories including “best dressed” and “best in show.”

Mr. Babcock said that the Hampton Bays Rotary Club has already pledged to cover the $5,500 cost to build several water fountains to be used for both the large and small dog sections.

Additional expenses include $3,000 for parking, $1,500 for signs, $1,760 for three trash cans with doggie bag dispensers, and $3,000 for benches.

Mr. Babcock said that Ronald Fisher, owner of Fisher Signs & Shirts in Southampton, also has agreed to donate several signs, including those reminding dog owners to “pick up after” their dogs.

Sponsors who donate to the park will be recognized with either a gold, silver, or bronze paw-shaped plaque—depending on their donation—that will be attached to the fence upon the park’s official ribbon cutting, Mr. Babcock said.

Ms. Lofstad explained that the town’s Parks and Recreation Department will also need to work up a cost estimate for removing garbage, replacing the dispensers, mowing the area, and paying the water bill.

To help with those responsibilities, Mr. Babcock said that approximately 15 community members from East Quogue, Remsenburg-Speonk and Hampton Bays have offered to steward the property on a daily basis, therefore easing the burden on the parks department.

In an email, Ms. Lofstad explained that the Pine Neck lot was one of three possible locations—including a town-owned lot near the Bay Avenue Marina and the former Turtle Bay property—for the proposed dog park. She added that the current lot was recommended by former Community Preservation Fund Manager Mary Wilson “because it is a cleared spot and not near any residences.”

However, some residents are concerned about the proposed park’s proximity to Weesuck Creek and the Shinnecock Bay.

According to Mr. Babcock, the town’s chief environmental analyst, Martin Shea, completed a preliminary environmental impact study and found that there would be no harmful or adverse environmental impacts.

In an email on Monday, Mr. Shea said that he had toured the property several months ago, adding that he hadn’t “heard anything about the dog park proposal for a long time.”

Currently, the closest dog park to East Quogue is the Southampton Village Dog Park on Windmill Lane.

“Even though it’s in East Quogue, it’s really going to be available to anyone who wants to come,” Mr. Babcock said.

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Now Councilperson Lofstad is concerned about the budget when she approved over $7 million in increases since she has been in office and "rolling the dice" with a $1 million of taxpayer monies on real estate speculation at the Bel-Aire site...the one thing I must say about this Board is they are consistently inconsistent with the way they operate. ...there is no checks and balances and they do whatever they want when they want and how they want. We need new Town Board members.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Apr 24, 19 10:39 AM
As a East Quogue resident, dog owner and lover of food at New Moon, I'll be sure to attend.
By CampHero (10), East Quogue on Apr 24, 19 10:51 AM
Dogs play an important role in many people's lives. There are seeing eye dogs, K9s, assist dogs, companion dogs, therapy dogs, cancer dogs, seizure & diabetic alert dogs, search & rescue dogs, military dogs, reading dogs for children, autism support dogs, PTS assist dogs, avalanche dogs, disaster comfort dogs...the list is endless. We need a lot more places were folks can bring their furry best friends. Please come out & support these folks.
By NoName27 (16), Southampton on Apr 24, 19 4:33 PM