AUBURN | County dogs had their day Tuesday afternoon when the Cayuga County Legislature created a special fund to allow the parks department to collect money for a proposed dog park.
Marla Connelly, the spokesperson for a group of 20 volunteers working to design and pay for the park, applauded the move by the Legislature to move the project forward at Emerson Park.
"Why do we build playgrounds?" Connelly asked the county board during a short presentation. "We do so to make sure our kids are playing in a safe environment where they can socialize with other kids. That's true for dog parents, too."
Connelly said the dog recreation area is currently planned for an unused space at the north end of Emerson Park along White Bridge Road.
With special green vinyl fencing and a parking lot for visitors, costs are expected near $90,000, Connelly said.
She said none of the funding will come from county taxes, leaving the balance to be raised through fundraising or possibly through a contest sponsored by PetSafe, a pet products company.
"There are 100 communities competing for this $100,000 and we are currently ninth," Connelly said. "We have a real chance here to be able to pay for a huge part, if not all of the park if we can get more people to vote."
She urged county residents to vote for the project at PetSafe's online Bark for Your Park contest at www.petsafe.net.
The project was nearly forced to sit and stay for another month by Legislator Paul Pinckney, R- Aurelius, Fleming, who motioned to table the fund authorization to give surrounding towns the opportunity to comment on the location of the park.
"We've received some concerns from some of the townships, and I'd like to give them the opportunity to look at what was presented," Pinckney said.
Gary Duckett, director of the county's Parks and Trails Commission, said the project had the support of the commission, including representatives of the nearby towns.
"People always say there's nothing to do in Emerson Park," he said. "Why don't we allow them to use a section of the park and give them something to do?"
Pinckney's motion was defeated 12-2, with only he and Michael Didio, R-Auburn, voting to table.