Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park Recognized for Hard Work

Group Embarks on Expansion Plans

Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park Recognized for Hard Work

By Jeffrey Merchan, Student Journalist

When Dave Mueller heard the news that the Peekskill Dog Park made the list of the 10 Best Dog Parks in the Westchester Magazine roundup, he thought it was a joke. “Sabina Flagg, the secretary of the dog park told me we placed in the top 10. I thought she was joking at first,” said Mueller who is president of the nonprofit Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park. 

This was a pleasant surprise as the Peekskill Dog Park is one of the smallest dog parks in the area. “We were all ecstatic when we heard about it. We had no idea,” said Mueller. In its April 21 edition Westchester Magazine had this to say about the Peekskill Dog Park, “With dog toys and separated size-based sections, this park is the perfect local excursion for your pupper in Peekskill.” The motto of the Friends of the Dog Park is “where dogs come to run and play and neighbors become friends.”

The Dog Park entrance near Husted Avenue at 1795 Main Street, just before Tompkins Park, home of the Lapolla Little League fields. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

This accomplishment closely coincided with the Peekskill Dog Park’s kick off event on April 29 for the new bridge members installed. The bridge is the first of four phases in the proposed expansion that’s expected to be complete by the end of next year. 

In attendance at the kick off event were Council members Brian Fassett and Kathleen Talbot along with Sabina Flagg, Peggy Boyce and Allison Risoli, members of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park. Each individual, including Mayor Vivian McKenzie, the Parks Department, and DPW played a role in making the dog park what it is today. 

“I think it’s amazing that we placed in the top 10 considering how little we have here as a dog park. The expansion that we’re working on with Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park is going to make this place even better, “ said Fassett. “It’s wonderful when citizens just dive in and decide to take on a project like this,” added Talbot. 

The new bridge opens up an expanse that will allow members to create a third fenced-in area. See rendering below. (Photo by Jeff Merchan)

Mueller is excited for the future and believes that soon the Peekskill Dog Park will become a mini tourist attraction because of their top 10 designation. “If you come to the dog park, you end up seeing license plates from all over. It’s incredible,” said Mueller. “The more people hear about us, the better it is but it will continue to get crowded and that’s why expansion is so important to us.” 

The increase in development around Peekskill and all the people who got dogs during COVID will contribute to a crowded dog park, said Mueller. “Sometimes the dog park feels very small. If you have ten dogs in here and then you have 10 to 15 people, It gets crazy. The dogs need more space especially in the summer” said Mueller. 

This is a rendering of what the Friends envision for the area they can now get to because of the bridge.

In 2017 a group of volunteers started maintaining and cleaning the area with the goal of making the Peekskill Dog Park a friendly environment for both furry friends and the community. “The dog park has been community-focused since day one,” said Mueller. Everything from the logo to the events have been decided upon by the community. In 2021, the group officially formed and received nonprofit status. “When you get here and you’re new, almost everyone wants to help you with your dog. The people here love talking to each other and giving advice,” added Mueller. “The dog park is for the dogs but the people who come here are also very amazing. It’s good to see the community building and people getting to know each other,” said Fassett.

The Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park aren’t the only ones celebrating placing top 10 and expanding, frequent dog park lovers have expressed delight too. “I think it’s great and positive. Anything positive opens us up to many endeavors. I think it’s about time Peekskill gets recognized for something positive. We were isolated for a long time during COVID and this accomplishment and the dog park can bring us all together,” said Peekskill resident Alexis Baker while enjoying the park with her dog Saidy. 

The Friends of Peekskill Dog Park hosts all sorts of events that contribute to fundraising. Here the Easter Bunny sits with a dog and its humans for a family portrait.

As for the future, Mueller and his team are not short of ideas. “When we expand, we are hoping to get more restaurants involved in becoming dog friendly. People love going to the Peekskill Brewery because they’re dog friendly and then coming to the dog park,” said Mueller. To make this possible, the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park encourage the community to help in any way possible. They’d like to expand the dog park to create another section that is more natural using the existing elements of trees, rocks and boulders for all of the dogs to enjoy. Another long term goal is to create walking paths and/or trails throughout the entire Tompkins/Beecher Park ultimately connecting three separate areas; the Little League fields, the Dog Park and the Tompkins Park Playground with these trails.


The next event is on Saturday, May 14 from 8:30 to 11:30 for a Community Clean-Up. Anyone can become a member and donate on their website and follow their social media accounts for frequent posts about upcoming activities.