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More play at Washington Park: New dog run on Union City/Jersey City border

By AMANDA STABB, HUDSON REPORTER STAFF WRITER

Union City and Jersey City officials joined together to cut the ribbon on a new dog run in Washington Park, on the border of both towns, on Friday, Sept. 19.

The 80-by-120-foot gated area, which cost the county $160,000, includes sand, benches, and water fountains for humans and dogs alike. There is also a new walkway leading to the run.

"I have been eagerly awaiting this park," said Peter Aquinde, a member of the Washington Park Association, a group of residents who came together earlier this year to work with both Union City and Jersey City on improving park conditions.

"We actually have members in both cities to work on making a positive improvement in the neighborhood," said association member Mory Thomas, "and we thought the best way to do that was to start here, in Washington Park. We figure if you have a beautiful park that can be used by all the diverse people of this community, that our community will improve with it."

Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise brought his golden retriever, Dodger, who served as the inspiration for the new run's name, Dodger Stadium. DeGise said, "A lot of it is going to depend upon us, the dog owners and residents of this area, to make sure this park is well-maintained, that people are picking up after their dogs, and people are obeying the rules."

The open park space used to be an unofficial dog playground, according to local residents.

Union City resident Kadee Jacobsen, who was there with her two dogs Lacey and Sam, said: "They used to come and run here. It was all open. Now, it is an official dog run."

"There could be as many as 20 or 30 people up here with dogs, and with the dog run here now, I expect that that number will grow even further," said DeGise.

"We see the need that exists for facilities such as this," said Union City Commissioner Christopher Irizarry. "It's funny. I am so used to building parks for children and renovating the parks for children, it is interesting to see a park that is being built for dogs. Many folks that aren't dog owners or pet owners, such as myself, take it for granted the importance of having a dog run of this kind."

"We know that you'll put this dog run to good use," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. "I am very happy that in the last 10 years, people have started to pick up after their dogs. That was not always the case in Hudson County."

Still scoop the poop

Though residents still have to pick up after their dogs while in the dog run, the new facility keeps the waste from being left in park areas where children may play.

"The good thing is that [the dog run] contains the waste," said Jersey City resident Walter Parks, who was present with his dog Buddy. "It also brings neighbors together. It gives us a reason to speak to each other."

The dog run will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.