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1/15/14: Tails Wagging as Bark Park Debuts at Ellicott Creek Park


Collaboration between Parks Dept., Friends of Ellicott Creates County’s Second Bark Park

ERIE COUNTY, NY— The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry, in collaboration with the not-for-profit group Friends of Ellicott, has announced the creation of an off-leash dog exercise area (“Bark Park”) located within the island area of Ellicott Creek Park in the Town of Tonawanda. The new Bark Park, which is now open, offers a location where dogs are allowed off-leash to run, play, exercise, train and socialize with their owners and with other dogs.

“The creation of Erie County’s second Bark Park provides unencumbered recreation for dogs and their owners who are looking for a place to call their own,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.  “I thank Parks Commissioner Troy Schinzel and his partners at Friends of Ellicott for their close collaboration in making this project a reality. This is another good example of how partnership building, cooperation, and shared vision can result in an asset for our area.”

Erie County’s second and newest Bark Park is the result of a close collaboration between the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry and the Friends of Ellicott, a 501C group formed expressly for this purpose and that has agreed to perform certain limited maintenance and upkeep roles at the park. In addition to maintaining its own liability insurance, the Friends of Ellicott will regularly provide general dog-related cleanup activities at the Park, make reasonable efforts to monitor the Park to alert the Parks department to potential problems, and may hold Park-specific fundraising efforts for the purpose of making improvements.

“The Friends of Ellicott initiated the creation of the Bark Park and have been partners throughout the process of making this new feature a reality,” said Parks Commissioner Troy P. Schinzel. “While dog owners had been using the island for some time, the Friends sought to make a more formal agreement and establishment of the area as a dog park, establishing themselves as a not-for-profit entity, raising necessary insurance funds, and entering into an agreement with Erie County to operate the Park. Their hard work has been a key to our successful partnership, and we look forward to working with the Friends here in the future.”

“I am a lifelong resident of the Town of Tonawanda.  When I was younger my parents took myself and my siblings for a ‘Sunday ride to the country’ and we went to Ellicott Creek Park.  Over the years, I have continued to enjoy the park, walking my dog and meeting other dog lovers,” added Mary McNeill, President of the Friends of Ellicott, Inc.  “The discussions often led to the idea of a ‘dog park’ and how great it would be, so it is very exciting after thinking about the possibility for many years to have it become a reality. This was only possible because a few people took action, persevered, gained the support of a few more people and finally gained the support of the current Erie County Parks Commissioner. We are very pleased to reach this milestone, and do intend to continue to support responsible pet ownership and good park stewardship.”