Following literally dozens of workshops, public meetings, and the tireless work of members of the Owego Dogs Owners Group (ODOG) and the Town of Owego Board, an agreement between ODOG and the Town of Owego was reached at Tuesday evening’s board meeting for the build of the Rebecca Weitsman Memorial Dog Park, to be located at Hickories Park in Owego, N.Y. and fully funded by Rebecca’s brother, Adam Weitsman, owner of Ben Weitsman & Son and Upstate Shredding.
Unanimously voting to approve the agreement between ODOG and the Town of Owego to build the park was Owego Town Board member Craig Jochum; Supervisor Don Catellucci; Town Board member Dean Morgan and Town board member Barbara J. Roberts. Irene Graven, who is serving as the Town of Owego Attorney, also reviewed the agreement and found it to be satisfactory.
With the approval reached, a bid advertisement will be released on Sept. 7, 2014, with bids to be returned to the clerk and opened at on Sept. 23, 2014.
The winning bid will be selected, with Delta Engineers, who worked on the design of the park, involved in the selection process. On Sept. 30, 2014, a special Owego Town Board meeting will award the bid and authorize a supervisor to sign the documents.
By Oct. 6, 2014, the selected contractor will sign the contract and be given Notice to Proceed. Dependent on contractor schedule, the contractor mobilization will proceed, and the work will begin on the close to 3-acre dog park.
Adam Weitsman, owner of Ben Weitsman & Son and Upstate Shredding, is fully funding the park project in memory of his sister Rebecca, who passed away from cancer. Rebecca was an avid dog lover. Adam Weitsman has been and will be involved in all aspects of the project he is funding.
The approximate 3-acre park will be what ODOG and Weitsman described as a state-of-the-art dog park, that will offer an area for small dogs and large dogs, and will have other features that will make it one of the best dog parks in the country, attracting tourists, and bringing visitors and their canine companions to Hickories Park and the Southern Tier Region.
The prospect of building the park began approximately four years ago for a build on property owned by Weitsman that would be turned over to the Village of Owego. But the flooding in 2011 halted efforts, and when the park was looked at again for build, it was decided to approach the Town of Owego for placement in Hickories Park located on Hickories Road in Owego, N.Y.
At that time, a group, ODOG, was established and is 501c3 (applied), and has also received state tax exemption.
Key ODOG members Nancy Eckstrom, Steve Paul, Kathy Nichol-Newell, Carlynn Freitag, Darcy Chester, John Spencer, Laura Eberly-Spencer and this writer, as well as many others, worked tirelessly with Delta Engineers and members from the Town of Owego to develop a location and concept that would meet approval from the funder, Adam Weitsman. Steve Paul’s experience as a design engineer proved vital to his work with Delta and various design companies who assisted.
ODOG also worked on an agreement with the Town of Owego, and the park’s users and ODOG members will fundraise and volunteer their time to help maintain the park and will ensure its longevity for use and enjoyment by guests and their canines for many years to come.
As the development of this process progresses, more information will become available, to include the design of the park, which will be unlike any other park and will provide a major boost to area tourism.
To become an ODOG member and join in this effort, you can like them on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/OwegoDogOwnersGroup?fref=nf.
Many thanks to Adam Weitsman for his generous contribution to the community, and for funding a memorial for his sister, Rebecca, that owners and their dogs will enjoy for many years to come.