Should Cortland have its own dog park?

An American Foxhound and a black Labrador Retriever playing with a stick (Peter Wadsworth/Flickr)

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Man’s best friend may soon have their own park in Cortland, as a movement to have a dog park within or near the city limits is gaining traction.

It’s been four years since Cortland resident Ashlee Tinker first had the idea for a dog park in Cortland. In May 2014, she created a Facebook group for the movement that currently has more than 600 members.

Tinker said the idea came to her after she adopted her Chihuahua, which she named Oscar. At the time, he was a puppy and needed a lot of exercise, but she didn’t have a closed backyard. This made her realize how hard it was to find a place where he could run around without a leash.

The city has been in discussions with dog park supporters for two years, and more recently the village of Homer has gotten involved.

One of the main goals of the movement, besides just having a dog park, is creating a more beautiful gateway into the city.

“It would be a great way to bring the two communities together and give people visiting and coming off the highway a clean healthy view of our towns,” Tinker said. “It can be a place where families and single people of all ages can go.”

Tinker also said that the city has a great vision of what they want it to be and what needs to be accomplished. She thinks everyone is just ready to see this come to life

Currently, Village of Homer Mayor Hal McCabe is taking the lead on the project. Locations are still being looked at and researched since the previously chosen location, which has not been disclosed, was deemed unsafe and too costly.

Adam MeGivern, 7th ward representative for Cortland Common Council, supports the movement for a dog park.

Possible locations would ideally be near hotels that also have a close proximity to Route 281 and Dexter Park. They are currently working with hotels that are pet friendly and there is some nice potential.

The project has been regularly discussed among other city officials, according to MeGivern, though the project has stalled as organizers search for ways to fund the project.

Despite the delay, MeGivern says organizers are happy with the progress that has been made.

“It’s taking a little time, but I think that as we continue to find more funding, people will be excited to weigh in and shape this project,” MeGivern said. “We’re looking forward to working with the public.”