Dogs in Stewart Park?

by emily on February 1, 2017

Since 2010 when the Waterfront Trail opened in Stewart Park, more and more trail users are bringing dogs, most on leash, into the park.  The no dogs in Stewart Park regulation has not been consistently enforced since that time and informal discussions among City and FSP staff and at the Parks Commission indicated that most people, including the birding community, were comfortable allowing dogs in the park, with some conditions. 

Common Council is now considering a proposal to amend Chapter 336, Parks and Recreation, of the City Municipal Code to allow dogs in Stewart Park, the only City park where dogs are prohibited.  The Friends of Stewart Park took the lead in requesting the new policy be adopted and approached the Parks Commission in the spring of 2016.  Both the Parks Commission and the Board of Public Works recommended that the Municipal Code be amended to allow on-leash dogs in the park.  After further discussion at the January Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting and input from the Cayuga Bird Club, the proposed ordinance would allow on-leash dogs in Stewart Park but would prohibit dogs in the Fuertes Bird Sanctuary and within 100’ of the Swan Pond.  Service animals and police working dogs would remain exempt from this prohibition, and other exceptions may be granted by special permit issued by the Superintendent of Public Works. 

In addition to restricting access to sensitive birding areas and habitat, the installation and upkeep of ‘dog care stations’ to provide waste bag dispensers and receptacles is essential, along with informational signs and enforcement.

FSP and the Cayuga Waterfront Trail Initiative will be reaching out to dog and trail lovers to look for sponsors for 2 or 3 dog care stations in Stewart Park.  The sponsorship donation is $1,000 and includes a bag dispenser, a waste receptacle, a stainless steel dog profile, and, if desired, a naming plate. 

The Planning and Economic Development Committee will consider the proposed ordinance at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.  PEDC will likely recommend that Common Council amend this ordinance at its March meeting.  For more information you can contact the Friends of Stewart Park, City Planner Megan Wilson, or email Common Council.

Photo from Julian Euell’s “Postcards of Summer: Stewart Park

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