Lakewood would be a good home for a dog park.
In fact, it's surprising there aren't more dog parks locally, especially for an area that fancies itself a tourist destination.
Andrea Windoft, Lakewood treasurer, recently approached David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor, for permission to explore the idea of a dog park across from the community boat launch on East Terrace Avenue. The most expensive materials needed at first is fencing and a dispenser for plastic bags, though there will be a cost to add benches, fountains and other amenities over time. Better yet, Windoft is looking for ways to build the park without asking for any taxpayer money, recently enlisting the help of the Lakewood Kiwanis Club. Donations can be payable to Village of Lakewood Dog Park and mailed to 20 W. Summit St., Lakewood NY 14750.
One concern that hasn't been discussed publicly is the proposed park's proximity to Chautauqua Lake. The Environmental Protection Agency deemed pet waste a "nonpoint source of pollution" in 1991, which put pet waste in the same category as oil and toxic chemicals. It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans. EPA estimates show two or three days' worth of droppings from a population of about 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it, to swimming.
Responsible dog owners, however, are the type of people who clean up their dog's waste, whether it's in a dog park or on a neighbor's lawn. We hope, if the park does become a reality, that village officials ensure there is strict enforcement of regulations to clean up dog waste in the park.
With proper management, a dog park would be a welcome addition to the area. Dog owners in the Lakewood area should consider joining Windoft's effort.