Watsessing Canines Slumming At The Park

Baristapal Anne Prince tells us Bloomfield dog owners are barking about the neglected, shoddy dog park over at Watsessing Park near Locust Avenue. “It’s one of the oldest dog parks in the county and it’s in a terrible mess.” Resident dog owners have been on the phone to dog park advocate County Exec Joey D – they know he jumped into action when disgruntled Montclairians barked about Brookdale Park’s brand new doggie playpen in their back yard…and why should Watsessing get stuck with a flea-bag run when Brookdale gets the Hyatt Regency?Bloomfield Life reports:

One of the two fountains is broken, creating a pool of undrinkable water mixed with gravel and dirt (regulars have dubbed it “Lake Watsessing”). The bulletin board, intended to advertise dog walking services and such, looks ready to collapse.
Plus, there is a pungent odor of urine clinging to the green garland that wraps around the metal fence surrounding the park.
Stacey Clark, a park regular, sums up the park’s condition in two words: “It’s disgusting.”

Pat Barker, at-large councilwoman, frequents the park with her two dogs… has been on a mission in recent months to bring upgrades to the park, which is maintained by Essex County.
Conditions are worsened by residents who do not pick up after their dogs. Such carelessness is created in part by the county’s carelessness, Clark said.
“It’s just kind of, ‘the county doesn’t care, so why should I care’ kind of thing,” Clark said. “I firmly believe that.”

DiVincenzo says he was not aware of problems at Watsessing Park, promising to do a site visit and fix what was necessary. We contacted the county executive’s office to learn what, if any improvements are scheduled, but did not hear back.

For now, Barker said there is an indisputable disparity between the Watsessing and Brookdale dog parks. Nonetheless, she is hopeful the two will soon be on par with each other.
Comparing the two parks, she said, “It’s like Disneyland versus riding a public bus for entertainment.”

Sounds like Essex needs to throw these poor dogs a bone…
Update on the clean-up, here.

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  1. First: Her last name just had to be Barker…
    Second: I sure hope the people growling for these improvements aren’t the same ones yelping about the taxes in Essex County.

  2. LOL on the Barker…too funny.
    Last week at the shore, I went to a flea market and met a charming 83 yo woman who makes dog breed pillows. Well, naturally, I just HAD to buy one with 3 Labs on it. We exchanged a few words about dogs and such and I took her card. When I got home, my DH noticed that she lived on…Dogwood Road! True story.

  3. I don’t think that the Dogwood Road address is nearly as funny as the fact that you bought dog pillows at a flea market!

  4. LOL…Cro…how long have you known me? I can’t pass up anything with Labrador on it. I know, I need help.

  5. Every day I see many, many dog owners with their dogs ‘off the leash’ in Watsessing Park. I live right across the street of the small section bordered by Llewyellen,Glenwood,Cleveland and Brighton. This is a near perfect spot to let fido romp, for it is sheltered, enclosed and people don’t seem to mind loose doggies. I certainly don’t.
    This section of the park has been a ‘de facto’ dog run for at least the last 17 years. Back in the early 1990s, my wife and I used it for this purpose to play frisbee with our dear departed ‘Burt’.
    This area is within a short walk to the official dog run and from the new rental condos (which seem to encourage pet ownership)on Llewellyn.
    The point being, maybe we didn’t really need the Watsessing dog run, when we already had ‘one’.

  6. When I would bring my dog there (its been a few years) we would pick up after our dogs, clean out the “gravel in the fountain” and had a sense of shared responsibility for the area. Someone says that the garland smells of urine. really? do you think (maybe) that your dog lifted his leg and made that smell? put some gloves on, take the garland and throw it out. You write a letter to your councilmen and expect them to clean up after your dog? If you cant keep the area you’ve been given, why should you expect the town/county/state to give you a dog play ground?

  7. Even when the people that use the area do their best to keep it nice, there will continue to be an ongoing mainenance requirement to repair damaged fountains, benches, breached fencing, etc.., that the county will be responsible for as long is the facility is open for use.

  8. Maybe the concerned citizens can form a group to work with the county on improving the conditions. Call it the “Bark in the Park” effort.

  9. I agree that it is important for dog owners to pick up after their dogs, but if you compare the facility we have at Watsessing (which didn’t cost the county a penny to build since the EPA funded it) to the one in Brookdale, there is no comparison. To say nothing of the fact they MOVED the Brookdale park and rebuilt it just because some neighbors complained about the “noise.”
    Regarding the need for the dog park, Mellonbrush, I have to differ with you. First of all, the area you talk about is not fenced, so dogs could run into the street and be killed. Second, not everyone who is walking their dog in the park wants to be subjected to loose dogs running up to them. Our dog doesn’t always get along with other dogs, which is why we do not bring her to the dog park. If another dog was loose and came up to her we don’t know how she would react. It is safer for all involved if loose dogs are confined to the area that has been created for this purpose. Responsible dog owners do not let their dogs run loose in a public space.

  10. Correction, there is a fence but a wide opening at Lewellyn, so a dog could easily go around and get out.
    Also, don’t mean to sound holier-than-thou about it, I’m glad your dog enjoyed playing Frisbee there. I just freak out whenever a loose dog comes running at us. One time two big dogs who were running loose attacked our dog and it was pretty scary. Luckily she was OK.

  11. Maybe the County can have the dogs share the porta potties that the human children have been forced to use at Glenfield playground for the last two years. Warning, tell the canines they better bring their own humans to clean up before and after – except on days when the politicians are showboating.

  12. Maybe the County can have the dogs share the porta potties that the human children have been forced to use at Glenfield playground for about two years. Warning, tell the canines they better bring their own humans to clean up before and after – except on days when the politicians are showboating.

  13. It’s not just Watsessing Park that is ignored by the county. Branch Brook Park has overgrown bushes on trails and by the roadside; suffers from almost non-existent garbage pickup including broken glass; and has dead animals decomposing over gutters.

  14. As the Director of Constituent Services for Essex County, I?d just like to clarify the recent post about the condition of the Watsessing Dog Park. Joe D did indeed get contacted about the condition of the Dog Park, and took quick action to rectify the situation. As of yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, the fountains are working, the weeds are being eliminated, and the Dog Park looks very inviting. This was the first Dog Park Essex County established, and has always been used less frequently than our two other dog parks. It was built with limited funding and is really an area for dogs to run without a leash. The South Mountain and Brookdale Dog Parks were designed with play equipment, and differently funded. We are investigating mechanisms to put some equipment at Watsessing, so the dogs can have more variety.
    Let me also add that there are laws against walking your dogs off-leash in our parks. You and the dogs might enjoy it, but othere users of the park should be protected …children especially, who might be frightened by a jumping dog.
    Also, to Bloomfield 07003…please take it upon yourself to call me at 973-621-4400 if you see decomposing animals on sewers on county roads. Otherwise, call the Bloomfield Animal warden. Government needs the participation of citizens in order to function best…so feel free to help out.

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