Watertown— Watertown City Council meets again on Monday the 19th and one local resident who has been actively attending City Council meetings since 2007, will be there once again petitioning for a dog park.
Scott Gates says he has talked to numerous Watertown citizens begging him to continue petitioning for a dog park. However, since a dog at the Farmer's Market downtown injured a child, the council banned dog's from public events.
Mr. Gates explained what he sees as a flaw in the dog ban, “The new law has been distorted. People say that, ‘oh there was a dog at the parade’. Well, did that organization say that they didn’t want a dog at the parade?” Mr. Gates feels that people misunderstand the law, that it is up to the group holding the public event to decide whether or not they are okay with leashed dogs to attend their event. According to Gates, “People now want to play it safe rather than checking to see if they are in accordance with the law, because now people are more worried about litigation's and such.”
Gates said that the chances of the city council meeting going well depends upon the amount of individuals that attend and participate in the city council meeting. “City council has stuck their head in the sand, I have tried to get them to just call Syracuse up, to talk about how many people come from out of the area to use their dog park. There’s way more people that use the dog park from out of town, than those that live in town.”
Mr. Gates went on to stress the benefits of people that come to the dog park from out of town. The biggest benefit is the economic rewards out of town guests can bring to the community. “Out of town guests brings money to the community- you get gas, you get food, you go and do a little shopping. Anybody coming a distance to Watertown is going to spend some money.”
Mr. Gates says he has collected hundreds of signed petitions, which took a year and a half and included getting Alpine Fence to offer materials "at cost" and free man power to help build the dog park. However, all of the work and effort was allegedly ignored by the Watertown City Council. Mr. Gates even went as far as getting a $200,000 donation, so that taxpayers do not have to pay for the dog park. However, the Watertown City Council allegedly turned it down and refused to allow the dog park to be built.
The Watertown City Council meeting will be held at 245 Washington St, Watertown, NY 13601 at 7 pm sharp.