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Bedford Canine Tribute Park (Katonah)

 

Dedicated to: the working dogs that were involved in the rescue efforts at Ground Zero on September 11.

Type of Memorial: Park

 

Address: Beaver Dam Rd. between Harris Rd. and Jay St.

City: Katonah

State: New York

Country: United States

 

Open to Public: Yes

 

Description:

Purpose: To improve the recreation opportunities and lives of dogs and their owners. The Bedford Dog Owners Group and the Town of Bedford are collaborating to create a canine tribute park that is a place of beauty, passive recreation, off-leash recreation for dogs, as well as a rescue dog training center, and a memorial to the working dogs that were involved in the rescue efforts at Ground Zero on September 11. President of Bedford Dog Owners Group, Patricia Barry, added, "One of the most exciting features of the Park is the K9 Search and Rescue Agility Training Center that we are building to serve the Lower-Hudson Valley Region. There is a real shortage of places available where members of the regional K9 search and rescue community can gather to train new and seasoned dogs, to exchange ideas and to hold demonstrations and competitions. Ann McCreary of our group has been working tirelessly with representatives from a number of organizations that use K9 search and rescue dogs to develop the specifications for the new facility. She is also in contact with other organizations that train service dogs (e.g. Seeing Eye Dogs) and regional recreational agility clubs that may benefit from using the facility."

Reason site was selected: For many years, dog owners in the Town of Bedford have dreamed of having a space where they and their dogs could congregate and socialize. Despite an abundance of open land in the community, there were no public places where dogs could play off-leash. Moreover, dogs were prohibited from being unleashed in public and subject to stiff fines for violation of Town leash laws. Following the closing of a long-time, but privately-owned gathering spot for dog owners, Beaver Dam Sanctuary, Bedford dog owners began to organize. After garnering support from the local press as well as residents, the group approached the Town Supervisor with the idea of a dog park to be established on town-owned land. The Town of Bedford was receptive to the idea and the responsibility for developing such a park was happily given to Dr. Marilynn Glasser, Director of Leisure and Human Services for the Town of Bedford Recreation and Parks Department, who had long been an advocate for a dog park in Bedford. Through the process of writing its Dog Park Proposal to the Town Board, the group visited eight town-owned properties and ranked their suitability. Soon, it became apparent that Beaver Dam Park, a 27-acre piece of Town property just down the road from Beaver Dam Sanctuary, was the most ideal site. Beaver Dam Park is situated on a ridge at the top of a hill and offers beautiful vistas of the surrounding countryside. The property is easily accessible and is close to the most densely populated areas of the Town. The presence of a water tower from the nearby prison on the property means easy access to water for visitors and plantings. Few areas within the Park have steep grades, unlike many of the other viewed properties. Beaver Dam Park also had another critical and very positive attribute – it had few neighbors. Founder Linda Trepel-Cantor’s experience in siting housing for psychiatric patients knew that NIMBY issues could make or break a project. “We knew right away that if we could take this piece of property that was not being cared for and make it beautiful, it would be accepted,” she said. Of the eight properties visited, Beaver Dam Park had been the most neglected. In its recent history, the land had been clear cut and had been used as a site by local contractors for dumping building materials. But, this fact was soon turned into a positive. “The site offered so much potential. Here is a project that the community could easily wrap its arms around. This could really turn into something great,” Barry remembers thinking.

Events planned for site: According to Barry, "Development is underway at the site of the future Bedford Canine Tribute Park. The Town of Bedford has completed the removal of large debris from the property. A plant inventory study was donated by a local firm, SavATree, who identified the healthy, native trees and shrubs that remained on the property after it was selectively cleared in November 2004. A detailed topographic survey was undertaken and a civil engineer has been hired who is starting work on designing the access road and parking areas to enable paving work to begin in the spring. Richard Quigley of IQ Landscape Architects, will spend the winter months working with the civil engineer on the final design of the park. In the spring, we hope to stake out the features of the park. We will soon be busy orchestrating many of the anticipated spring volunteer projects that will concern erecting the fencing, clean up, laying out the woodland trails and boardwalk construction over wetter trail areas. Initial planning is also underway for the memorial entrance that will pay tribute to the efforts of Working Dogs, both search and rescue and therapy, and their human trainers in the aftermath of 9/11. A focal point of this entrance will be a statue of the search and rescue dog, Bear, a beautiful golden retriever who is credited with finding the most victims at Ground Zero. Once the parameters of the space are determined in our final design, members of this Committee will begin work on soliciting designs from the art community and developing a selection committee from local citizens, organizations and regional K9 search and rescue and therapy organizations that participated at Ground Zero. Aside from site development and planning, our group has been focused on building momentum for our project. We devote a considerable amount of time to fundraising, as well as to public relations. Our volunteer list keeps growing and our membership is now at 185 from 12 a year ago! In terms of community events, our group co-sponsored with the Town of Bedford, the first-ever Dog Paddle Day last September. Over 200 dogs attended this open swim at the town pool. We were a little nervous as it was our first ever dog-inclusive event, but there were no incidents to report, just tons of fun and $4,000 extra in the coffers. I think we started a new tradition in Bedford! Last month, we held a holiday dog biscuit sale. We raised another $4,000 (our magic number) and the project was adopted by local middle school 7-graders as their community building project. On May 7, 2005, we will be hosting a “Going to the Dogs” Benefit, a not-too-fancy cocktail party and silent auction at our local historical hall. Representatives from regional K9 service organizations will hopefully be our guests as we aim to raise funds for the Agility Training Center."

Do you believe your memorial is a sacred place?: “The Bedford Canine Tribute Park project is about creating a new sacred space to replace a cherished place that our community lost. It is also about restoring a natural place as a tribute to our connection with other species and to the natural world,” says Patricia Barry. “The Tribute Park will be a sacred place where people from all walks of life can gather to share their life experiences and create enduring friendships,” adds Linda Trepel-Cantor. Trepel-Cantor said that the whole community, open space, and even her own backyard are sacred.

J on MAP

 

Contact: pattib@bestweb.net

Web Site: www.bedforddog.org

 

 

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