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- Lulu

ONE RESIDENT'S RESPONSE TO THE AMENDMENTS PROPOSED FOR THE ORDINANCE:  

Dear Mayor Bramson and City Council Members, December 10, 2007


I am writing to you in regards to the new rules for Ward Acres that I have just been informed will take place by April 1, 2008.


I am completely surprised that you are going to do away with ALL off leash hours and instead creating a 3-acre dog run. I was present at the League of Women Voters meeting where Barry Fertel assured us, that if you put in a dog run, that did not mean that you would remove all off leash hours. What changed?


It's bad enough that the current hours have emptied the park of many of the former users, but this new measure is extreme and will create a park that is used even less.


I wonder how many of you have actually used a 3 acre fenced in do park with your dog? I can tell you from my personal experience that while 3 acres may sound like a lot it truly not for a variety of reasons.


A 3-acre space will quickly become denuded of grass etc. What this creates is a dust bowl in summer and a mud pit in rainy and snowy weather. Believe me this will become a completely an unenjoyable place for any one to exercise their dogs.


One of the most enjoyable aspects of Ward Acres are trails that you can go off on with your dog and you are not enclosed in a small area where overcrowding can results in dogs and people not getting along. The way the park is currently set up there’s always enough room for people to walk away if their dog does not get along with another dog. This eliminates any problems that could occur if a large number of dogs are enclosed in a small area. When I lived in NJ, Ruby and I frequented an enclosed dog park and found that when dogs are overcrowded, they did not always get along.  Tempers can flair with owners also.  I witnessed bigger fights between the people then I did the dogs!


Another disturbing thing I noticed about the fenced in area is that because it was fenced people who could not control their dogs felt very comfortable bringing them into a fenced in area and leaving them run. You cannot do that when a dog is off leash and not fenced in. You have to train your dog to come when called and to listen to you. I also saw people drop off their dogs in the fenced in park and leave! Why because they did not have to worry where their dog would be when they came for it later. Unfortunately these people had not trained their dogs to pick up their poop. Dog poop becomes a huge problem in an enclosed space. While I applaud the lowering of the non-resident fee to $100 per dog, to then further take away the few hours we currently have and expect us to continue to pay is unreasonable. 


So often this debate has been focused on the dogs, while the truth of the matter is that the dogs are just a conduit through which neighbors get together, albeit with their dogs, and exercise by hiking the trails and meeting up with both new friends and old. Standing around a three-acre site will not allow for hiking and the exercise that comes from this, for both the dogs and their owners.


I urge you to reconsider this before you vote to get rid of all off leash hours. This is precisely what I was told would not happen and now barely less then a year latter it’s about to become law. This seems incredibly unfair after all the people who spent time and effort advocating for some reasonable way to continue to use the park with our dogs, we’re now being kicked out unless we agree to a rather small area that will not work for the majority of us. If you think the old rules created ill will amongst residents here in New Rochelle, this will certainly create a lot more.


If you now have any doubt about why we were against the fence in the first, well it’s because of the new rules you are now trying to impose regardless of the will of a major part of your constituency.

 

A better solution would be to add a few extra hours on weekends and holidays and let us share the park that way. Having expanded hours in winter is also a good idea since hardly anyone uses the park then. Please consider that vandalism and garbage dumping often find their way into under used parks.  


I am absolutely sure the council, parks commissioner and city manager can come with a less draconian plan. Should any of you like to discuss this further, I can be reached at ****************.


Thank you for your time,


Valerie Larko

New Rochelle, NY

Ward Acres lawsuit is about licensing fees

(Original publication: August 3, 2007)

Lawsuit is about licensing fees

The July 27 article "Judge tosses lawsuit against Ward Acres dog rules; appeal expected" is misleading for focusing on off-leash regulations. The lawsuit has nothing to do with off-leash dogs and, indeed, the city could have chosen merely to enforce such regulations at virtually no cost and with no legal impediment.

Instead, the New Rochelle government chose to impose a cumbersome and expensive licensing requirement with fees prohibitive to occasional use of Ward Acres by residents ($50 per dog) and astronomical for non-residents ($250) whether the dog is on- or off-leash. This license flouts long-standing legislation and tradition ensuring that open parkland be free and accessible to the public. (In contrast, constructed facilities such as a supervised beach, a parking lot or our new skateboard complex are allowed to charge fees.)

The result of the Ward Acres regulation has been to empty a park that was once bustling with friends and families enjoying the outdoors and their pets. There is simply not enough activity or interest in the park by the general New Rochelle populace to justify the draconian measures designed to eliminate dogs. We dog owners plead for fairer access to our beloved park.

What is the real agenda here?

Kathryn D. Wiegand New Rochelle


To the Editor,
We are devotees of Ward Acres Park. Together with my family, I regularly enjoy long walks through its fields, forrest, and wetlands. Despite the overgrowth of invasives species, this season I have seen wonderful wildlife there- including a pileated woodpecker, goldfinch and warblers among many other song birds. We also observed frogs, snakes, mallards, deer, rabbit,and I am told there is a fox as well. The wetland flora is awesome with ancient tulip and beech trees, a multitude of native ferns and wildflowers including trout lilies, may apple, hellebore,  and viburnum. I admire the abundance of these wonderful and rare things in lower Westchester with my children and husband,- and our dog, on and off leash.
 
I am struck though, by the strange tone of the debate over the use of this park. I fear for its future. The mayor has called it underused. They have drained its fresh water and buried it underground. I believe the city ultimately desires to develop it. Indeed, in a letter from Mr. Kellert last week, dog owners are accused of preventing the good people of New Rochelle from developing the park by building yet another sports field ( heaven forbid another astro turf one).  Please don't do my children any favors, Mr. Kellert!  They have played enough soccer for a lifetime. What they want and need is time and space to consider their natural world in peace. We must protect this land for them, all of it.
   
There are so few healthy wetlands and open spaces for passive enjoyment of wilderness in our area. Why does the argument follow that people who use the park, many of whom are dog owners, are unreasonable and selfish for using it for it intended purpose.

We can continue to debate a fair schedule for use by dog owners and families without dogs, but the Ward family gave this land to the citizens of New Rochelle for passive enjoyment, not to be sold off to yet another opportunistic
developer. Haven'twe seen enough development in New Rochelle? 

Patricia Cohen,
New Rochelle   




I just LOVE what you folks are doing. Please keep it up until this unjust ordinance is overturned. There is NO justification for fees and the limited hours. Thanks to you, maybe the law will be changed.

I live in Larchmont and had taken 3 generations of dogs to Ward Acres for about a decade. Since the law started I have not set foot there. How sad is that?! I usually would then head to Wykagyl and spend $ at the various shops... No more. It is both the dog owners and the business that are being punished.

It is incomprehensible to me that I must I pay $250 to walk my dog in New Rochelle !!

Interesting story:
In the last few weeks. I was walking my dog at ³dog beach² in Larchmont. I met several dog walkers from New Rochelle that were there because they could not go to Ward Acres. Then I was walking around the Larchmont reservoir and at different times met several dog walkers from New Rochelle and they said they were there because they could no longer take their dog to Ward Acres!

Then, I was walking my dog at Manor Park in Larchmont and met several dog walkers from New Rochelle and they were there because they could no longer go to Ward Acres. I could not believe it! All these wonderful people from
New Rochelle forced to go to Larchmont to walk their dogs. And who can blame them? In Larchmont the public parks are for the people and free to use.

"Bramsonıs Blunder" is wrong, wrong, WRONG and the sooner the ordinance and all those that voted for it are gone, gone GONE the better!

Jasun Martz
Larchmont



 


Stop mowing grass during 'loose' hours

I have been quiet about the park since the new rules and regulations went into effect. I don't like them, but most of the Ward Acres regulars, myself included, are abiding by them. It really is sad to see the park empty at 10 every morning, knowing that very few people will be there for the remainder of the day. Still, up until 10 the dogs run loose and have fun as they have in the past, and I am grateful that we still have that.

Herein, however, lies the point of this letter. Can someone please explain why Parks and Recreation feels the need to mow the grass at Ward Acres at 9:30 in the morning, when there are people and loose dogs all over the area? Not only is it thoughtless and inconsiderate considering our time constraints, it's dangerous for all involved. What is the liability factor here if someone or someone's dog (or a city employee) gets hurt? I think a little common sense is in order on this one!

Diane Flynn New Rochelle


EXCHANGE OF COMMENTS IN JOURNAL NEWS:

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 5:18 pm    Post subject:
The park is a ghost town after 10:00 am??? Good! Look at how those dog owners destroyed that beautiful sanctuary in the last 15 years. In fact, just behind the photo of the young lady and her dog, you can see the de-grassed, dry, arid ground. This is from over use! That park was never intended to replace the back yards of dog owners and their responsibility to pick up the dogs' defacate, nor to exercise good leash usage and dog discipline on our streets where these wlakers andtheir dogs should be.

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject:
Andrew

I would like to know how many times you went to Ward Acres in the past of even present? you make accusations against the dog owners, when over the past 15 years, it has not been the dog owners, but the city of new rochelle and the parks and recreation dept that has been negligent for caring for the park. I have been going to Ward Acres with my dogs for the past 6 years, and during the summer months, I would be lucky to see the parks and recreation dept come in to mow the grass perhaps twice a year. This is the main reason why the invasive vines took control in which you have many trees that have been smothered by these very vines.

You probably also do not know that it was the Dog Owners who placed wood chips along the trails to make them more passable from the mud, it was a group of dog owners who cleared many of the vines along the trails. After the battle with city hall over this new ordinance, we have not once seen any of the people that represented the non-dog owners, except Mayor Bramson there with his family for a political photo op one sunday afternoon, and what was interesting was that the area for the photo op was neatly manicured, but the rest of the park was ignored, so we can see where Bramson is coming from as a career politician and trying to win votes. Also it is still the Dog Owners cleaning up the cases of empty beed cans left by the kids over the weekend, non dog owners are never there trying to keep the park clean, that is unless if there is some compensation for them(Parks and Rec workers).

You have to remeber that this is a park that the New Rochelle Taxpayers as well as Westchester Tax payers pay out of there real estate and sales tax. It should be used and cared for, and Dog Owners have every right to use the park on-leash or off leash. Perhaps they should charge everyone that enters the park a usage fee, so that the care of the park is not just solely imposed on and discriminated on people who own dogs. As a resident of New Rochelle, I do not complain about the school tax, even though I do not send any children to the school system. So stop complaining about people who have dogs, because out of what I see is that my dogs are much better behaved than many children I see around here.

Officials making poor decisions - Letter to Editor Journal News March 28, 2007

On Friday, I read an article in The Journal News stating that the crime rate in New Rochelle had increased 10.6 percent since last year. This frightens me, as it should other New Rochelle residents. Another interesting fact reported last week was that New Rochelle was one of the easiest places to score marijuana. This also frightens me.

What scares me the most is that our city officials chose not to hire more police. What they did decide was to give themselves a 65 percent pay increase, float a half-million-dollar bond for repairs to a dog park, budget for bicycle paths and racks, give tax abatements to wealthy businesses and charge their neighboring communities an exorbitant amount of money to use one of our public parks. The city plans to have a police officer (on overtime) patrolling this same park to make sure people who use it to walk their dogs have a permit. Wouldn't that officer serve our city better on the streets? Why didn't the city hire more police knowing that the crime rate had increased so drastically?

It is no wonder that there are so many houses for sale, businesses closing and crime increasing. It's time for New Rochelle residents to take responsibility for their voting actions. We need people in our city government who care about the community and not so much about what is in their pockets. We need police on the streets, not in peaceful, public parks. At election time, let's make a real difference!

Debbie Cowie

New Rochelle

League of Women Voters                                                                Februrary 12, 2007

Ina Aronow, President

23 Pebble Way

New Rochelle, New York 10804


Dear Mrs. Aronow;


Unfortunately I am not able to attend the League of Women Voters meeting this Friday, but please extend to your membership my invitation to visit Ward Acres with me and my dog, LuLu.  (Incidentally, you may wish to review the list of officers posted on-line for the League, as I have called every number listed and two were out of service and I received no replies from any of my messages left on the other numbers.)  We feel strongly that one cannot comprehend what a magical oasis and warm community Ward Acres has become without experiencing it firsthand.


If your members are reluctant to brave the recent wintry temperatures perhaps you could refer to me the potential patrons of Ward Acres that you have in mind when you seek to eliminate our off-leash hours.  I have a number of friends who have disagreed with me on Ward Acres, but after visiting, or even just discussing the matter face-to-face, we have invariably come up with workable compromises to allow access to all.


Again, I hope that anyone interested in the future of Ward Acres will come on a walk with me and learn what is at stake.  I can be reached at ******* or by e-mail at ***************.


Thank you for your attention.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kathryn Donovan Wiegand


 

 

Of Dogs Parks and Dogs:

 

Dear Mayor Noam Bramson,                                                                                                   February, 2006

 

My name is Valeri Larko and I am a New Rochelle Resident who visits the Ward Acre Dog Park everyday with my Shepard-Lab mix Ruby Tuesday. I would like to share with you some of my thoughts regarding the Ward Acres dog park. It’s important to remember that there are many other parks in New Rochelle, but this is the only one that is friendly to dogs and people alike.

 

Two years ago, my husband and I purchased a Condo in downtown New Rochelle, because we saw the area as a diamond in the rough.  We came from New Jersey and Connecticut suburban neighborhoods where there are parks and open spaces dedicated to dogs and their owners.   In New Rochelle, we had a hard time finding a place to let her run and socialize with other dogs.  At first I was taking her to Glen Island but quickly realized that she was not allowed off leash there.  A local resident then told me about the Ward Acre’s Dog Park. Being new to the area, I had no idea where Ward Acres was located, so I called City Hall.   I spoke with a city employee who told me, that yes there was an unofficial dog park at Ward Acres and was given directions to the park.  What a joy it was to discover this great place with lots of long trails where Ruby could get some much needed exercise and playtime with other dogs.  An added bonus was we met many of our neighbors and became better integrated into the lovely community.  

 

Since discovering Ward Acres in April of 2004, we have been extremely grateful to have the dog park and we utilize it daily, regardless of the weather or time of year. Which brings me to one of my first positive points about the dog park. In the last public meeting regarding Ward Acres, we were told that the park was under utilized and that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. I must say I totally disagree with this analysis of Ward Acres. Since I visit the park daily I see that there are many people, albeit many with dogs, at the park at all times of the day and in all kinds of weather year round. I can’t say the same for other area parks in the area that do not permit dogs off leash.

 

In particular I am thinking of the Nature Study Woods on Webster Ave in New Rochelle. Have you visited that park lately?  I have on a number of occasions and it contrasts sharply with what I see at Ward Acres. First there’s hardly anyone there and I would call this park under utilized for sure. In the summer you have a few people jogging, an occasional mountain bike rider, or horseback rider as well as an occasional person with their dog. There are far fewer people at this park then at Ward Acres and the result is that the place is a breeding ground for litter and mischief by local youth and people who are looking for a place to dump their garbage. Every time I go there I see a lot of garbage and this has gotten worst since the one garbage can was remove from the entrance on Webster.  I have also witnessed two young men rushing from the park on their bicycles as they heard my dog and I approach. What wholesome activity were these young men pursuing? They had dragged a bunch of trees limbs and old furniture into a pile and had set a rather large bonfire going in the middle of the afternoon on a summer day. Obviously doing this in the middle of the woods is neither a good nor safe idea. Luckily the kids ran before they added any more fuel to the fire and I had a cell phone so I called the local fire department to make sure the blaze died down and did not spread any further. 

 

Judging from the large amount of litter I have seen the Nature Study Woods, it is obviously a place for underage people to drink, smoke and eat junk food. The fact is, I have never seen litter like this at the Ward Acres dog park. Why? Because the place if regularly used by people who care about the park and clean up after themselves and their dogs. Garbage cans are available and the dog walkers and others help by emptying the garbage cans on a regular basis and putting clean garbage bags into the cans. This is not a park where a couple of kids could have the time and privacy to start a bonfire in the middle of the day and NO ONE would notice.

 

I do not think you realize how much the dog walkers add to the cleanliness of the park. I have seen them regularly pick up garbage and empty the garbage cans. I too have picked up garbage at the park, because I feel that since I use and love it, I want to keep it nice. This is the kind of thing that happens when people appreciate and use a resource like Ward Acres. Once again I suggest you check out the Nature Study Woods to see the difference when a park is under utilized and not cared for. You could also check out Glen Island Park that is more frequently used but is always awash with garbage.

 

I’d like to take issue with another negative statement that has been made about the dog park, namely one gentleman stated at the last public meeting, that it’s not a matter of if, but when as far as a dog biting someone in the park. Now let’s take a closer look at that argument. Dogs that are at the park are socialized. What does that mean? It means that the dogs are exposed to other dogs and people on a regular basis, the significance of which is that the dogs that go to the dog park are the least likely dogs to ever bite anyone. You have the best chance of experiencing a dog bite in a private home where a dog has not been exposed to other dogs or people other then family members. In that setting a dog is much more likely to become possessive or territorial and to lash out because they feel cornered when someone new comes into the home.  Dog bites at the park are not an issue and it’s a shame that people who know very little about dogs and their behavior would promote this false information in order to scare people at the park.

 

Let’s talk about fencing in the dog park. What’s wrong with that you may ask? The reason Ward Acres works so well is because there are trails that you can go off on with your dog and you are not enclosed in a small area where overcrowding can results in dogs and people not getting along. The way the park is currently set up there’s always enough room for people to walk away if their dog does not get along with another dog. This totally eliminates any problems that could occur if a large number of dogs are enclosed in a small area. When I lived in NJ, Ruby and I frequented an enclosed dog park and found that when dogs are overcrowded, they did not always get along.  Tempers can flair with owners also.  I witnessed bigger fights between the people then I did the dogs! Another disturbing thing I noticed about the fenced in area, is that because it was fenced people who could not control their dogs felt very comfortable bringing them into a fenced in area and leaving them run. You cannot do that when a dog is off leash and not fenced in. You have to train your dog to come when called and to listen to you. I also saw people drop off their dogs in the fenced in park and leave! Why because they did not have to worry where their dog would be when they came for it later. Unfortunately these people had not trained their dogs to pick up their poop, so it was left for someone (usually me) to step in.

 

Another problem with enclosed dog parks is there are no trails to hike etc so that both dogs and people get a lot less exercise. Everyone winds up just standing around and watching their dogs instead of walking and hiking when they are restricted to an enclosed area.

 

With the building boom that is going on in down town New Rochelle, I would suggest to you that the need for an off leash dog park is going to become more and more important as all those fancy condo and rental apartments that Trump and Avalon on the Sound are putting up become occupied. Many of New Rochelle’s new residents will have dogs and no yards. Where are they going to walk their dogs? One guess: Ward Acres.

An enclosed area will become quickly crowded once the dog population expands.

 

My last plea to keep the Ward Acres a place where dogs and people can roam freely concerns ticks. Yes ticks! I have never seen a tick at Ward Acres and I regularly go into the wooded areas with my dog. This contrasts sharply with the Nature Study woods, which is full of ticks. There are signs there that warn people of the danger of being bite by a tick in that park. Why are there no signs at Ward Acres warning about ticks? That’s because there are none yes that’s right. This is another advantage to having dogs in a wooded area is that most people treat their dogs with Frontline and when ticks try and feed off them it kills them very quickly and that tends to deplete the area of ticks over time.

 

 

Dogs and children are the two most likely victims of Lyme disease. This is a very serious disease that is becoming more serious each year. Dogs attract ticks much more readily than humans and having them in a wooded area, will make it safer for humans to use the woods. Every wooded area around here that is off limits to dogs is infested with ticks. If you have ever walked through the woods at the Larchmont Reservoir off of Weaver Street, especially in autumn you would be sure to walk out with a few ticks on you and it only takes one to give you or your dog Lyme disease. The wooded areas that are used by off leash dogs are much safer to visit and that is definitely not a coincidence. It's easy to lose sight of this issue if Lyme disease has not already affected someone you care about but the best way to deal with Lyme disease is to reduce the number of ticks before the ticks become infected. Off leash dogs is not going to completely solve this problem but it can definitely be part of the solution.

 

In closing let me say that I do not want my tax dollars to be used to create a big fancy park that very few people will use. You may feel that Ward Acres is not being used enough by the general public, but you may find that after spending millions of tax payers dollars, that the new and improved park is used even less. Once again I refer to the Nature Study Woods and I can’t help but wonder why that park is not better cared for and utilized by locals and school groups. The same can be said of the Larchmont Reservoir, which has a nature center and is located just 2 minutes from Ward Acres. Could it be that there is not a need for another park in New Rochelle that is off limits or heavily restricted to dogs and their owners. Perhaps Ward Acres is doing exactly what the community needs and it is not costing millions of dollars to the community to do so.

 

Thank you for taking the time to consider the many positive aspects of Ward Acres as it currently stands.

 

Sincerely,

 

Valeri Larko

New Rochelle, NY

 

 

 


 



LETTER TO MAYOR BRAMSON AND CITY COUNCIL FEB '07

Shortening the hours at Ward Acres for off leash walking, will not just

affect me as a dog owner, but as a person.


By nature I am not an activist. But when a valuable asset is threatened, it

is time to step up to the plate. Last time I got active in New Rochelle it

was to help save our Libraries. Now I am hoping to help save Ward Acres.

It is a resource that I never knew about until I got Charlie, my 9 month old

boxer. 


It is rare to find 62 acres of woods and fields to hike with a canine

companion. But, I can't always get to Ward Acres by 8:30 or 9:00 in the

morning, and early evenings are filled with taxiing my children, doing

homework, and making dinner.


Ward Acres is a place to make friends, get advice, share stories, etc. It

is a kind of community center where you never feel excluded, where people

welcome you easily and are always happy to walk and chat with you or to show

you a new trail. It is truly a rarity. 


I am a happier, healthier person since I began going to Ward Acres, and

Charlie is a better dog for it. Being around other dogs teaches puppies

like him to be good citizens and wears them out. More dogs would end up in

shelters without the exercise they get at Ward Acres. Even if I walked

Charlie for 3 hours daily on leash, I could never give him the amount of

exercise his body needs. Ward Acres allows me to exercise at my pace, and

Charlie to exercise at his. 


There are already plenty of parks in New Rochelle for people, many of them

rarely used. Ward Acres is the only park used every day all day long.

Changing the hours for off leash walking will in all likelihood not increase

park usage, but decrease it. By driving away the dog owners who care for

the park, and in their numbers keep it safe, aren't we inviting misuse of

the park, the kind that scares families away? 


In closing, I would like to add that I am willing to pay a fee for using the

park, to help defray the cost of its upkeep. But, limiting the hours of the

very people who pay the fee is unfair and discriminatory.


Ward Acres is not only a beautiful place to take a walk; it is a valuable

resource worth protecting. Please don't take that away by limiting the

hours so drastically. 


Yours truly,

Anne Bedrick

New Rochelle Resident

 

 


Larchmont Gazette Feb. 1, 2007: 

Larchmonters Will Pay More to Walk Dogs in NR Park

New Rochelle is about to do something very un-neighborly to many residents of Larchmont. Effective April 1, 2007, a fee of $250 per year will be required of any Larchmont resident (any non-resident of New Rochelle) who wishes to walk his or her dog in Ward Acres on or off-leash.

Notwithstanding the fact that Ward Acres was purchased with NY State Conservation Funds in 1962 and is presently a section of the county-wide Colonial Greenway, Mayor Bramson and his Council have seen fit to impose this exorbitant fee.

As a resident of New Rochelle, I am embarrassed by this treatment of our neighbors and fear this draconian measure could lead to a loss of goodwill in our community and a possible "protectionist park war" in lower Westchester County.

Jeff Wiegand
New Rochelle, NY

January 25, 2007




Letter to Mayor and City Council:

We are desperate and deeply saddened to loose our only open space where our dogs can run free. I’m sad to say around here nothing is dog friendly….upstate they have parks and reserves like this in every town, village and City. Here, people drive 45 minutes just to come to Ward Acres! 

It’s a Jewel and we need help trying to save it! Thanks for listening!

When I was at Ithaca College I adopted a Lab, and took her to the WILD FLOWER PRESERVE everyday. This is an old reservoir, like the Sheldrake, where your dogs can run free with all their friends. People also go there to swim, fish and hike, without a dog.

It is patrolled by Park Rangers...

This is just one example of how people with and without dogs can share a park!

 

Letter from Christina Carino-Forrest


 I have lived in the city of New Rochelle for 29 years. We walk our dogs...off and on leash,  at a 62-acre forest like preserve called WARD ACRES. The WARD family left their estate to the city as an OPEN SPACE and it became one of our parks. Over the past 30 years the city HAS DONE NOTHING to clean up and maintain this land. It is overgrown with invasive weeds that are killing the trees. Every year more and more healthy trees are being strangled by the vines. The trails would not exist if wasn't for all of us citizens who come here to walk their dogs. The constant foot traffic keeps the vines at bay. We clean up, we bring the trash to the street and provide the bags, pick up beer cans etc.

We are like a family, who knows each other by the names of our dogs.

 At first I was happy that after all this time The City of New Rochelle wants to actually get involved with this park!

 But then you tried to sell us this PowerPoint done by a firm the city paid $75, 000 to. The Presentation showed a RESTURANT, a Museum new trails and a nature center. Everyone went crazy.

A restaurant and museum in the woods?????

 Our nature reserve?????

Our kids need to walk not sit and eat.

The Sheldrake Environmental Center is right down the street. Why have 2 nature centers within walking distance?

Well those plans did not fly and we threw 75, 000 down the drain!

 Why the city did not hold focus groups to find out what people wanted before spending money on a planning firm I have no idea!

 A responsible government holds scoping sessions and focus groups to determine what the residents want BEFORE rendering powerpoint presentations and spending precious city park money that could have went to much better use.

 Then the city proposed  a fence to keep our dogs penned in....

a $500.000 fence at that.

I would have been happy to have 8 or so acres with a fence for off leash use but not at the cost of 500.000. This Idea also, did not fly. The price just seemed to be to much. I would have rather seen that money go to restoring the barn. That is a historic building for New Rochelle and should be used again for the Chamber of Commerce Haunted House since the Armary will soon be sold to more builders. Many people, at the meetings, spoke out about restoring the barn but for some reason that idea was not explored.


 Now the City has Bonded $500.000 for invasive vine removal. Even though they have over 300 volunteers like me who are willing to give their time to remove the vines along with a hired Arborist. The vines do need to go in order to save the trees!!!!!!! For that I am thankful.


This it the price that comes with New Rochelle finely cleaning up the park….

 

 STARTING APRIL 1st 2007 residents will be charged a 50 fee per dog to go to the park, non residents $250.00.

Off leash hours are now limited:

 Weekdays before 10 AM and from 5 PM till Dusk (Dusk is 5:30 most of the year)

No off leash hours on the Weekends or Holiday’s!

 

The citizens of New Rochelle have a voice and are banding together so we can be heard.

www.welovewardacres.net

 


Thank You,

 

Christina Forrest

Scott Forrest

Mary Carino

Angelo Carino

Nicolas Carino

Angelo Carino JR



from Joyce S. Kent


January 12, 2007


Mr. Charles Strome

City Manager

City of New Rochelle

New Rochelle, NY 10801


Dear Mr. Strome:


I am writing to you to convey the disappointment I feel regarding your recommendations to the City Council about the future of Ward Acres.  I served on the Ward Acres Steering Committee and I tried hard to understand and accommodate the differing points of view.  


As the chairman of the science department for the New Rochelle Secondary Schools, I recognize the importance of environmental education. Ward Acres could serve as a nature center that offers hands-on programs for children of all ages.  I appreciate that teachers would not wish to take students on nature trips if dogs were allowed to run loose.


I also recognize that there may be some people who would feel intimidated and apprehensive if dogs were allowed to run free. For that reason, I supported having hours that restricted use of the park only to dogs that were leashed.

At the same time, I am a dog owner who loves to bring her dog to Ward Acres in the early morning before my workday begins.  Despite the fact that I was open to compromise, I no longer feel that I can be supportive of the current proposal for the following reasons:


People without dogs may use the park for free.  Those with dogs will be required to pay $50 for each one ($250 for non-New Rochelle residents).  Given that fact, is it fair and equitable that the people who must pay have only a fraction of the daylight hours available to them?

It is obvious that the two-dog limit was proposed to discourage dog walkers.  You may not realize that dog walkers play a significant role in keeping the park clean and are able to control their dogs better than many pet owners.  If your objection is that they are using the park for profit, what about nannies who bring their charges to playgrounds in other New Rochelle parks?  Do we tell these caretakers that there is a limit on the number of children they may supervise?

Some dog walkers have been in business for many years. That is their chosen profession. Changing the rules will have a substantial impact on their ability to earn a living. When zoning ordinances are changed, those with non-conforming uses are often grandfathered for as long as they continue to own the property. Shouldn’t similar consideration be given to the dog walkers who rely so heavily upon the facilities at Ward Acres?

Many people own three or more dogs.  There is a group of people who graciously foster dogs so that they are not euthanized.  In addition, dog owners take care of their friends’ dogs when they go on vacation.  Why should they be required to make needless, additional trips to the park so as not to violate the two-dog limit?

The weekend hours are particularly disturbing to me.  In the summer, all dogs must be leashed by 10:00 a.m.  Many people go to church or synagogue or like to sleep a little later on the weekends.  Many families enjoy taking outings in the afternoon with their dog. Teenagers often don’t arise until noon.  As a practical matter, they will not be able to comply with the 10:00 a.m. restriction. In addition, if all the dog owners are required to use Ward Acres during this narrow window of opportunity, there is a greater likelihood of problems due to the crowded conditions that may prevail.


I would like to propose the following changes:


1. Dog may be unleashed from dawn to 11:00 a.m. during the week.  I think that after 4:00       p.m. in the winter and 5:00 p.m. in the summer is fair.

2. If you must restrict the number of dogs permitted to be off leash, make it 4 or 5.

3. Give the dog owners until 1:00 p.m. on weekends.


I want to make it clear that your new restrictions will have little effect on my excursions to Ward Acres.  I am writing as a resident of New Rochelle who feels you are not recognizing the needs of a substantial number of its citizens.


Respectfully yours,




Joyce S. Kent


Cc: Noam Bramson

       Barry Fertel

       Michael Boyle

       Marianne Sussman

       William Zimmermann

       Christina Selin

       James Stowe 

       Roberto Lopez  



Address to City Council:

Good evening Mayor Bramson, members of the City Council, neighbors.

My name is Joyce Kent and I reside at 265 Lyncroft Road. I have been a resident of New Rochelle for 38 years and it is here that I raised my three children and assorted animals.  I am hear tonight to urge you to consider expanding the off leash hours for dogs.  


Let me begin by saying that I recognize the rights of non dog owners to use the park and I am supportive of the creation of a nature center.    In fact, I first came upon Ward Acres many years ago when it was a craft center and I often walked with my small children through the park to pick berries.  I often came with a field guide to help identify the wide array of wild flowers.  


I don’t know if any of you own dogs or, if you do, that you bring your dog to Ward Acres.  For that reason, I want to share my experiences as a canine companion with you.


I was raised with dogs and wanted my children to share that experience.  We have raised several dogs during my stay in NR, but didn’t discover Ward Acres as a dog experience until I adopted my present dog.  When our last dog died six years ago, I contemplated life without a dog. You know the saying, “When the children leave the nest and the dog dies, life begins.”  That lasted two weeks when a dog lover, Cheri Howell, had rescued a dog and introduced me to him.  I thought long and hard and consulted with my children who by now were not living at home.  I can only say that the response I received was, “Mom – if you would like us to visit you, having a dog would be an enticement.”  The rest is history.  Cheri used to take the dog to Ward Acres with her other dogs and I wanted this dog to adjust to our home – so I continued to take him.  I go to the park almost every day – often as early as 6:30 in the morning before work.  My dog is not particularly social and doesn’t really interact with other dogs so I have no interest in fencing in an area, but the pleasure I get from watching him run free while I collect my thoughts is something that brightens my day. My children kept their promise and often come to visit on weekends – I would like to think they want to see me as well – one of the things we do is go to Ward Acres with our dog.  It is a time to enjoy watching him run around and we get a chance to talk.  Unfortunately, they never arrive before 10 a.m. and, according to your proposal, we could not enjoy watching our dog romp off leash because of your restrictions.  


I recognize your obligation to serve all the interested parties, but I think you have short changed the people that use the park the most.  The park is utilized 365 days a year – rain, snow, sleet, hail.  Please consider expanding the off leash hours.


Thank you.


Jolo.jpg
Jolo

Letter from Christina Carino-Forrest


We are desperate and heartily saddened to loose our only open space where our dogs can run free. I’m sad to say around here nothing is dog friendly….upstate they have parks and reserves like this in every town, village and City. Where Here people drive 45 minutes just to come to Ward Acres! It’s a Jewel and we need help trying to save it! Thanks for listening!


 I live in the city of New Rochelle, NY. We walk our dogs...off and on leash on a 62-acre forest like preserve called WARD ACRES. The WARD family left their estate to the city as an OPEN SPACE and it became one of our parks. Over the past 30 years the city HAS DONE NOTHING to clean up and maintain this land. It is overgrown with invasive weeds that are killing the trees. Every year more and more healthy trres are being strangled by the vines and the trails would not exist if wasn't for all of us citizens who come here to walk their dogs. The constant foot traffic keeps the vines at bay. We clean up, we bring the trash to the street and provide the bags etc.

We are like a family who knows each other by the names of our dogs.

 After all this time The City of New Rochelle wants to actually get involved with this park!

 They tried to sell us this PowerPoint done by a firm the city paid $75, 000 to. The Presentation showed a RESTURANT, a Museum new trails and a nature center. Everyone went NUTZ a restaurant and museum in the woods?????

 Our nature reserve????? Our kids need to walk not sit and eat and the Sheldrake Environmental Center is right down the street.

Well those plans did not fly and we threw 75, 000 down the drain!

 Why the city did not hold focus groups to find out what people wanted before spending money on a planning firm I have no idea!

 A responsible government holds scoping sessions and focus groups to determine what the residents want BEFORE rendering powerpoint presentations and spending precious city park money that could have went to much better use.

 Then they wanted a fence to keep our dogs penned in....$500.000 fence at that. I would have been happy to have 8 or so acres with a fence for off leash use but not at the cost of 500.000. This Idea also, did not fly. The price just seemed to be to much. I would have much rather seen that money go to restoring the barn. That is a historic building for New Rochelle and should be used again for the Chamber of Commerce Haunted House since the Armary will soon be sold to more builders.


 Now the City has Bonded $500.000 for invasive vine removal. Even though they have over 300 volunteers like me who are willing to give their time to remove the vines along with a hired arborist. The vines do need to go in order to save the trees!!!!!!! For that I am thankful.


This it the price that comes with them finely cleaning the park up….

 STARTING APRIL 1st 2007 residents will be charged a 50 fee per dog to go to the park, non residents $250.00.

Off leash hours are now limited:

 Weekdays before 10 AM and from 5 PM till Dusk (Dusk is 5:30 most of the year)

No off leash hours on the Weekends or Holiday’s!

We have a voice and need to band together so we can be heard.


Christina Carino-Forrest


__________________________________________________________________


Dear member of the New Rochelle legislation,

My name is Richard Bromberg and I grew up in New Rochelle, where my family still has their home on Forestavenue.

All my life is full of the memories of enjoying all the natural beauty that surrounds us in New Rochelle.

Fishing on the sound, riding bikes in Glen Island, hiking in the woods.

Now that I have a dog, I have been enjoying the wonderful open woods of Ward acres. The opportunity for Daisy to run and play with other dogs is essential to her physical and mental health.

A happy and well adjusted dog is safer for everyone.

A dog constantly on leash and unable to “blow off stress and boredom” is unhappy and poorly socialized and as a result is more likely to get into a fight with another dog, under different circumstances.

The people who frequent Ward Acres with their dogs are also “blowing off stress and boredom” and are also better off physically and mentally for having done so.

The idea of charging license fees for residents and non-residents is unconscionable. The public’s right to enjoy their lands and share them with others is an inherent right, and not an opportunity of income.

The idea of limiting access to a few hours per day is equally short-sighted. If I can’t be at the park during that short window of time, I no longer qualify as a contributor to the well-being of my community? If the park is “open” it is open for all activities.

I hope you have taken the time to read this e-mail, and it has given you the opportunity to rethink your poorly made decision.

Thank you,

Richard H. Bromberg


LETTER TO LARCHMONT MAYOR

 

January 29, 2007

 

Hon. Elizabeth Noyer Feld

Village of Larchmont Municipal Building

120 Larchmont Avenue

Larchmont, NY 10538

 

Re:       Discriminatory permits to be required for New Rochelle park

 

Dear Mayor Feld:

 

In an effort to discourage dog walking at Ward Acres, a 62-acre public park located off Quaker Ridge Road and Broadfield Road in New Rochelle, the New Rochelle City Council has enacted regulations that will require, among other things, that New Rochelle residents purchase an annual permit to walk a dog at Ward Acres at a cost of $50 per dog.   The cost for non-residents, like me, will be $250.

 

Aside from the dubious legality of such discrimination (Ward Acres was purchased partly with New York State funds, and the Greenway portion will be refurbished using County funds, the park should be open equally to all of us), the exorbitant fee required of nonresidents sets an unfortunate precedent.  What if Larchmont decided to charge a fee to theNew Rochelle residents who use our parks, take their toddlers to our playgrounds, and walk along the beach near Manor Park?   Public parks and playgrounds are required to be free.  See, e.g., General Municipal Law  §144.

 

This is written to ask that you write a letter to Mayor Bramson of New Rochelledeploring the New Rochelle discriminatory dog-walking fees and pointing out the freedom with which New Rochelle residents use Larchmont’s parks and playgrounds.  It would be helpful if your letter were also released to the media.

 

There are numerous dog owners in Larchmont who would greatly appreciate your assistance in this matter.  We are involved citizens and we vote.  I am a member of the New York State Democratic Lawyers’ Council and worked as an official poll watcher/election law attorney during the recent local elections.  Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Patricia Wild

 






Dasiy.jpg
Daisy

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We Love Ward Acres  *  New Rochelle  *  New York