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Mar 5, 2014 9:48 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tails Wagging Over New Southampton Dog Park

Mar 10, 2014 4:00 PM

Dog owners in Southampton Village should only have to wait a few more months before having a new place to play with their four-legged companions.

Proponents of a recently approved dog park are hoping to have the space fully renovated and open to the public before Memorial Day, officials have confirmed, and have already raised approximately $60,000 for the cause. Another $15,000 still needs to be raised.

This week, organizer Zoe Kamitses said she is thrilled that her idea for a dog park has taken off, and that she is grateful for the support from Southampton Village.

“We have gotten such wonderful responses,” she said this week. “It has been a joyful project to work on—it has been a lot of fun, because everyone smiles when they talk about it.”

The park will be installed at Lola Prentice Park on Windmill Lane, beside the village’s Justice Center. The fenced-in park will be approximately an acre in size, with a new 15- to 20-space asphalt parking lot, and will feature a giant red steel sculpture of a dog in the center. The dog, currently named Eddie, was designed by local artist Robert Lohman, and can be renamed with a donation of $20,000.

“I feel that this big, red dog will be a token that beckons everyone to the park,” Ms. Kamitses laughed.

The Village Board unanimously approved the park at a board meeting in December after denying a similar request to create a special area for dogs next to Lake Agawam, because of environmental concerns.

Now, Ms. Kamitses said, the organizing committee wants to start installing the new fence, asphalt and grass, but cannot start until the ground thaws. A new sprinkler system also will be installed.

The park, which will be open to the public, will be self-monitored, but there will be regulations regarding dogs having all their shots and being well-behaved. The facility will be maintained by Southampton Village.

“We will definitely be open this summer,” Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said this week. “We are hoping to be up for Memorial Day, but it all depends on how fast the ground thaws out so we can put the fence in and pour the asphalt.”

The park will also feature eight benches where dog owners can sit and watch their pooches as they run free in the fenced-in area, and the park is only a short walk to Main Street.

When asked this week, Ms. Kamitses said she cannot wait for the park to finally open, and said there will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony sometime over the summer.

“I am so excited this is actually happening,” she said. “We have had a lot of very generous donors, and now are getting everything done. ... I think this is going to be a tremendous asset to the village.”

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I will be there everyday! Can't wait! Thank you to all who are involved!!!
By wondering (63), Southampton on Mar 16, 14 8:50 AM
How about permeable paving instead of more asphalt? The drainage issues along windmill lane are already so problematic. I can not believe that after having installed numerous dry well systems that the village is allowing a hard surface that adds to the run off. Skip the ridiculous 20,000. Sculpture and put some environmentally aware design into the parking area.
By AL (83), southampton on Mar 16, 14 12:37 PM
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By AL (83), southampton on Mar 16, 14 12:38 PM
Should put the skate park back
By SHResident (59), Southampton on Mar 16, 14 3:06 PM
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I'm so happy! My tail hurts from wagging so much!
By Toto (25), southampton on Mar 16, 14 5:02 PM
I'M SO HAPPY! My dogs will have a safe place to play with other dogs as long as other owners know how to train their dogs to behave. I have seen some dogs that bite other dogs and attack others. Hopefully everyone will be respectful of each other!
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Mar 17, 14 12:37 PM