Local Residents including LI-DOG Board Member Rich Infield Work with New Village Administration to Make it Happen!
Having lived in Valley Stream for close to 15 years – the last five of them with dogs – we had become slightly resigned to the lack of facilities to walk our dogs in the village. Dogs are not allowed on any park property on leash or off and several times the only alternative - walking them on village streets – resulted in angry confrontations with local residents less enamored with the species.
In the middle of 2010, I became aware of a local group of (mainly) youngsters looking to lobby for improvements to the village in order to make it more attractive for existing and future residents. As part of this work, they had started a petition for a dog run. In addition, we engaged the local press in our fight including the writing of letters and an article lobbying for the need for such a facility (http://www.liherald.com/valleystream/stories/Village-dog-park-would-benefit-canines-and-people). As a result of our access to the press, contacts made through the lobbying group, and the number of people we got to sign the petition, by the time Village elections were held late in the year, the people standing for election had heard a strong message that building a dog run would be a big vote-getter.
When the newly elected mayor and Village board came on board, therefore, we had not just their support but also an organization in place to carry our plan forward. They promised to open a dog run within 12 months (http://www.liherald.com/stories/Valley-Stream-dog-park-taking-shape). Since then, we have held them to their promise simply by constant communication, gentle pressure and by being there to help the Village whenever they needed advice or to understand the requirements.
The dog run is now built and our group is strong (see http://www.liherald.com/stories/Meeting-of-the-dog-park-minds). The official opening will not be until April or May 2012, but several of us have already done dry runs there. Our work is not complete. We still need to fund raise and help the Village in the ongoing operation of the run. But the excitement and fun that the dogs can now have in their own village backyard makes it all worthwhile.
- Rich Infield