After a complaint was registered about dogs “running wild at Hotz Park and Sand Bay,” Liberty Grove Supervisor and Parks Committee Chair Cathy Ward visited several town parks to get a look at the issue. She found that the town had created cause for confusion about park rules.
In her visits, Ward found that three parks – Sand Bay, Ferdinand Hotz and the Ellison Bay Community Park – had signage that said dogs are not allowed in parks. But the town ordinance governing dogs in parks states that dogs are allowed as long as they are on leash, and not in beach areas.
The committee approved a motion to update signage at those parks to be consistent with the town ordinance and to encourage people to clean up after their dogs.
The rule was originally created, Ward said, because the town was trying to keep dogs out of areas where a lot of people gather and around picnic facilities. There are 11 picnic tables at Sand Bay and five at Hotz.
Following the rules at Hotz Park can be confusing, since dogs are allowed on a leash on the beach that is part of Newport State Park to the north of Europe Bay Road. Those dogs are technically not allowed on the beach at Hotz Park directly south of Europe Bay Road.
“As long as dogs are on a leash I don’t think it’s a problem to have them in parks,” said committee member Donna Scattergood. “I’d hate to do a categorical ‘get rid of dogs’ move just because of the inappropriateness of one or two families. Dogs are such a big part of peoples’ families.”
Mariners Park Plan Coming Soon?
Ward said the town should soon have a draft plan for Mariners Park to review. Ayres Associates has been working with the town to develop a plan for the waterfront property acquired by the town in 2018. The town has made minimal improvements since it purchased the parcels for $1.45 million as it waited for the former owner to move off the property and evaluated the potential to save or sell several buildings on the parcels.