HERKIMER – Area dog owners rejoice – the Valley’s first dog park opened to the public Saturday.
“It was over a 10 year process, but it was a thing of love,” said Ed View, the mastermind behind the park. “It’s a great example of what people can do if they work together. It’s a true example of what Rotary stands for.”
View, with the support of the Mohawk Valley Rotary Club and Skinner family, opened the Roger Skinner Memorial Dog Park, on Marginal Road in Herkimer, with a ribbon cutting and well-attended reception.
“If I had to sum it all up in one word, I’d say ‘Finally,’” said Herkimer County Legislator Gregory Malta. “Ed spent such a long time trying every municipality until his idea finally came to fruition. I’m really happy for him and for all the volunteers. And of course for the dogs. It’s a good day.”
View has been working on getting a dog park in the area since 2011, but has run into roadblock after roadblock on the project. Roger Skinner, a longtime local businessman and Mohawk Valley Rotary Club member known for his philanthropy, served as View’s number one cheerleader, encouraging View not to give up on his vision. Because of this loyalty and encouragement, when Skinner passed away March 9, View knew immediately that he wanted to name the park after Skinner.
“It’s a bittersweet day,” said Mary Skinner, Roger Skinner’s widow. “(Roger) and Ed had been working on this quite a while. I’m very happy to see it complete now.”
Skinner brought her late husband’s dog, Sporty, to enjoy his ‘dad’s’ memorial park Saturday.
“This is one more step by the town and village of Herkimer in offering opportunities for the community,” commented Robert Schrader, Herkimer County legislator and Herkimer County Humane Society president. “Ed is a very persistent person. And I thank the village and board for recognizing the benefit of his vision and helping him make it a reality.”
Schrader added that View has long been a pillar of the humane society and community.
“Time and time again he’s out there doing fundraising and getting involved to help the community and the animals at our shelter,” Schrader said, adding a reminder to all to spay and neuter their pets in an effort to keep unwanted animal populations down.
As to why View has proved so determined to have a dog park, he explained it simply.
“I love animals,” he said. “I love my dog. And the more I’m around people, the more I love my dog,” he added with a laugh.