Thursday, May 29, 2014

Blog share: See Spot go: Designated 'dog area' to be installed in downtown Stamford

See Spot go: Designated 'dog area' to be installed in downtown Stamford 


STAMFORD -- An influx of dogs living downtown has created the need for the city to build a designated area for residents' four-legged friends to relieve themselves.

"In small parks like Kiwanis Park, which are loaded with shrubs, annuals and trees, even though most people pick up after their dogs, there's still a lot of damage done," said John Ruotolo, vice president of operations for the Downtown Special Services District, which is heading up the project to create a dog-designated destination in the small park.

Earlier this week, the Parks Commission approved the DSSD's proposal to construct a six-foot by six-foot dog area in one of the park's existing raised garden beds in the park's southwest corner. The dog area is expected to be completed within a month, Ruotolo said.
"Essentially, 10 or 15 years ago, this was never a problem in the downtown, because most buildings did not allow pets, but in the last decade at least, with far more residential buildings being built and a more diverse and younger crowd coming in, and a lot of competition between buildings, pets are now allowed in more buildings, Ruotolo explained. "So we've got a downtown with a lot of residents that we love, and a lot of dogs that we love, but they don't really have places to take their dogs for curbing."
In Park Square West, which is located right next to Kiwanis Park, dogs were not permitted to live in the residence until 2012. After two years as a dog-friendly building, there are a total of 21 dogs calling the 143 units home -- about one dog for every seven apartments -- according to leasing consultant Maria Gonzalez. And the numbers are only going up.
"In the most recent months, out of the past five leases, two had dogs," Gonzalez said.
And Park Square West is far from the only building in the city's downtown opening itself up to dogs. With that in mind, Ruotolo said that the Kiwanis Park plan is being considered a pilot program, with the possibility of creating more designated dog areas across the city.
"We don't want to ban people bringing their dogs outside. We want places for people to go with their digs without having to go across town to the dog park at 8 o'clock in the morning," he said. In the future, if the Kiwanis Park location is successful, Ruotolo said that others could be launched in Veteran's Park, Columbus Park and Latham Park to name a few.
"Having dogs downtown is a good thing," he said. "We just realize that we need to come up with a solution for this."
maggie.gordon@scni.com; 203-964-2229; http://twitter.com/MagEGordon #stamforddowntown

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