Owners of Bayville’s furry friends, lament no more. A new dog park is set to open in the village. This is good news for North Shore residents who were not eligible to use the dog park in Massapequa, managed by the Town of Oyster Bay, or the new one in Glen Cove, which opened this year. The new dog park will be at the Charles E. Ransom Beach, which is town-owned, and will be open to both residents and visitors.
Bayville’s dog park will have two components that the others don’t have — a stunning view of Long Island Sound and a new playground.
Jen Jones, whose campaign included a new dog park when she ran unsuccessfully for trustee in June, is ecstatic. She has two dogs — mutts named Casey and Penny. “These days they play in my yard and I walk them during the day,” she said, adding that she organized a group walk with neighbors, too. “People have wanted a dog park for a long time.”
She also has two children, one of whom is 6. Jones said her daughter can’t wait to play on the new playground, which the town has promised will be finished by next spring.
The playground, now located in the middle of the beach, will be moved a short distance west. The dog park will be built where the playground once stood, and extend to the edge of the property on the northeast side, butting up against the Steve’s Pier property on Bayville Avenue.
“This will be a great use of an underutilized property,” said former village Deputy Mayor Joe Russo, who was also part of the effort. “It will be a place where parents can watch their kids and dogs at the same time.”
Swimming is not permitted at Ransom Beach, and a seawall prevents access to the sound. The area is a protected space, deemed so by the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife. But visitors traditionally stop by to enjoy the sound overlook or park in the lot to patronize businesses across the street.
Russo said he was hoping the dog park and playground would encourage more people to frequent these businesses. “We’ve had a lot of support from dog lovers in Oyster Bay, East Norwich and Locust Valley too,” he said. “We’re hoping people going to the dog park will go across the street and buy a bagel, coffee or a slice of pizza.”
During the spring and summer months, entrance to the park will be free for those with town beach stickers, which cost $60 a season for residents of the Town of Oyster Bay. It will cost $20 a day for those who don’t have stickers. Non-residents will pay $50. Access to Ransom Beach is free during the fall and winter.
Russo said that West Harbor Beach, a village-operated beach on West Harbor Drive, had been considered first, but it was too close to a pumping station. Harrison Woods, a village- owned preserve, was considered next, but Ransom seemed like the most logical location. Many Bayvillites can walk to it, or park on Bayville Avenue in front of the businesses.
Last summer, Russo, Jones and Carla Pinetta, another dog lover, reached out to Town Councilwoman Michele Johnson and Joe Pinto, the director of the town’s Parks Department. Russo said that, initially, they were dubious.
“We said that we’re the forgotten part of Oyster Bay,” Russo said. “This would be by the water, and people could look out at pristine waters.”
At a follow-up meeting in early September, the three presented a proposal. “When we gave them a multi-page presentation, they realized how serious we were,” Russo said. “We even offered to have people do any necessary fundraising. And people would have donated fencing, and others would have donated their professional services.”
There was another meeting in October, which was more positive. Jones was informed that it was approved a few weeks later.
Then former State Sen. Carl Marcellino announced at an Oct. 28 press conference that he had secured a $100,000 grant for construction of the dog park. “Dog parks provide a great community setting where residents can gather and socialize while observing the interaction of their pets,” he said.
Russo said he was pleasantly surprised, since “The usual response from government is, ‘We can’t afford it.’”
The dog park is expected to be completed by next spring.