Weehawken is going to the dogs – literally. On Thursday, Mayor Richard Turner was joined by the Town Council to officially open the first ever dog park to exist within Weehawken’s town limits.
Turner announced it’s the “first, but not the last dog park in Weehawken.”
Located on the corner of Boulevard East and Pershing Road (across from Charrito’s), where a whole lot of nothing besides brush once sat, the park is the answer to every Weehawken dog’s dream.
The previously desolate area has been cleaned up and, with just under $80,000 from various existing funds, turned into an open space for dogs to run around off leash.
“This is a big deal for the dogs to have a safe place to run, socialize, and play.” – David Stratton
Just outside of the dog run is a small sitting area for owners, with a water trough to refresh the canines after they enjoy a good romp around the park.
“It’s really good,” said Maria Coello, who lives nearby on 46th Street with her dog Bugatti. “We walk him every night, but we don’t have a place so he can run.”
David Stratton, who was walking three dogs when he discovered the park opening, agreed.
As the owner of WannaGoOut, a dog service company with clients from Jersey City up to Edgewater, Stratton was ecstatic to learn the park had finally opened.
“This is a big deal for the dogs to have a safe place to run, socialize, and play,” said Stratton.
In addition to providing the dogs of Weehawken (as well as visiting pups taking in the view with their owners) with a place to run around off leash, Turner said that the park will also serve as a help to the community by providing a central place for dog owners to “scoop the poop.”
According to Turner, one of the biggest complaints in town is about dog owners who don’t pick up after their furry friends.
Boulevard East, in particular, as well as nearby side streets, is a major site for the culprits. Additionally, areas around fields and other public places tend to attract a lot of abandoned excrement.
“This is just another attempt to encourage people to have fun with their animals and take care of their animals at the same time,” said Turner.
But it’s important to note that the dog park is BYOB – bring your own bag. Because they tend to disappear from public parks in abnormally large quantities at once, disposable bags will not be provided.
However, there are several trash receptacles in and around the park, and dog owners should make it a practice of carrying something to scoop the poop with anyway, since it’s not guaranteed that Fido will reach the dog park before having to “make.”
In addition to the opening of the new dog park, Weehawken is also beginning a major program to help fix the poop problem in town, which will include publicity, warnings, and eventually fining habitual offenders.
The town dog council
A few doggie dignitaries were on hand to help inaugurate the park on Thursday, among them the pets of town council members Robert Sosa and Robert Zucconi.
Sosa attended with “Biggie,” a six-and-a-half-year-old dog that he and his wife, Desiree Palma Sosa, adopted from a Bergen County animal shelter approximately a month ago.
According to Palma Sosa, Biggie’s family surrendered him because of a family move. He was so intimidated by the shelter environment that, workers there said, he was shaking uncontrollably and was eventually taken out of the general population and moved into one of the offices.
But his sweet demeanor had a magnetic effect upon the Sosa family.
“I met him, and I immediately fell in love with him,” said Palma Sosa.
Zucconi, an avid dog lover who has long been awaiting the creation of a dog park in Weehawken, attended with 7-year-old “Gunther” – also a rescue dog – and his daughter’s 11- month-old dog, “Betsy.”
“This is perfect; it’s great,” said Zucconi. “You can walk the dog and then let them stretch and play with a toy.”
Zucconi added that the park was well-designed with a special fill that is easy for poop pick-up as well as drainage.
And, he said, the view at the park can’t be beat.
But there might be some competition in the future – the next dog park is set to open on the waterfront after the project to expand and improve Baldwin Avenue is completed next year.
Lana Rose Diaz can be reached at email@example.com.
Play by the rules
The dog park will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but before you drop in, make sure to mind the rules, which are posted on the outer gate.
Leave the chews and food at home, never bring a dog in heat to the park, don’t leave your dog unattended, make sure dogs are leashed at all times outside of the dog run, children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and most importantly, clean up after your pooch.