OSWEGO – Moments after the Port City’s newest park was opened, it was filled with scores of canines running happily inside the two enclosures; sniffing all over while making new friends.
The dogs, large and small and just about every bred imaginable romped in the playground built just for them – without any altercations. It prompted one pet owner to remark, “If only people could get along as well.”
Oswego’s Dog Park is located at 375 Mitchell St., on the city’s far east side. The park took about two months to build. It was filled with various exercise equipment and, of course, the ever present fire hydrant.
Betty Fadden, vice president of Paws Across Oswego County, welcomed the huge crowd to the ceremony.
“Everyone knows Kevin and if he could talk, he’d be giving remarks instead of me,” she said referring to the group’s rescued pit bull who has become quite the canine celebrity. “But since he can’t, you get me.”
Paws Across Oswego County was “very pleased to be here for such a great occasion,” she added.
They have been working with the city for more than 18 years. Their goal has been a common one – to improve the lives of animals in the community and the surrounding communities.
“The city of Oswego is quickly becoming a leader in making the community more pet friendly and to acknowledge the roles of animals in our lives,” she said. “We have seen a dream become a reality with this dog park. This is a tangible benchmark to show that the animals in our community are valued and loved.”
The mayor recognized the many people that helped make the park a reality, including “my dog, Sammy, first and foremost.”
“All the dogs in the audience should really thank Sammy. Without his lobbying this never would have happened. If you’re looking for a registered lobbyist, I recommend Sammy,” the mayor quipped.
He acknowledged the Common Council for its help in making the park a reality.
“We are an extremely fortunate community to have all of the good energy and good things going on in the community at this point in time,” Barlow said. “I would like to think that all of these things happening at the same time are a product of a smart approach by Oswego city government.”
A proven way to attract new residents and retain current residents is to invest in public amenities and offer better parks and also bring in new amenities like a dog park, he said. He went on to recognize the DPW, who built the park while keeping up with its regular duties.
He also thanked former First Ward Councilor Connie Cosemento who has long championed the creation of a dog park in the Port City. When he first thought about making a dog park, she was the first person he contacted, he said.
“As a pet owner, I can confidently say that pets are considered family. I didn’t grow up with a pet and didn’t fully understand the idea until I got Sammy and he made me see the light,” the mayor said.
You may hear some criticism on why spend money on a new dog park when there are still potholes or whatever the topic may be, he acquiesced. However, these are the sort of things that will help the city grow the community, he said.
“That’s the right approach. You’re not going to penny-pinch your way to prosperity,” he said. “I hope that this park proves that our approach is the right approach.”
The mayor thanked Kevin for helping him go viral, so he’s a nationally known mayor thanks to the fire hydrant proclamation he presented Kevin.
But, on a personal and sentimental note, Sammy was diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall, the mayor said. “His goal over the winter was to make it to the opening of the dog park. I’m glad he’s here and gets to enjoy this.”
The crowd responded with a hearty round of applause for the mayor’s canine.
Second Ward Councilor Linda DeMassi said the park was wonderful. She was thrilled with the huge turnout.
“I just lost my dog in October. I wish he was here to see this,” she said. “It’s not just good for the dogs. It’s going to be a great place for people to meet; socialize while their dogs are playing. I can’t thank enough everyone that was involved in making this happen.”
She cautioned dog owners to keep an eye on their pets while at the park to help ensure everyone’s safety.
“We really don’t want anything to happen to any of them and it’s really important that we make sure we take care of this park after all the work and everything they put into it.”
Just before the ribbon cutting, she attempted “to throw the first bone to the mayor. However, it hit the upper edge of the tent and bounced back to her. So, she hand delivered it.
The park closes at dark.