hilltop dog park opening

North Caldwell, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. opened the new Off-Leash Dog Park in the Essex County Hilltop Reservation in North Caldwell on Friday, June 29th. This is the fourth dog park in the Essex County Parks System.

“In the fall of 2017, we met with officials from North Caldwell and listened to their request for an Off-Leash Dog Facility in West Essex. Its creation is an example of how Essex County works with its 22 municipalities to enhance our residents’ quality of life and ensure the County’s open spaces continue to meet the needs of the community,” DiVincenzo said. “The public looks to the Essex County Parks System for recreation opportunities, and this includes pet parents wanting places where their canines can run and play without being on a leash,” he added.

“We had been talking about developing a dog park in West Essex for five and a half years, and I’m glad were able to identify this site and get it built so quickly,” Freeholder Len Luciano said. “Our dog parks are among our most utilized facilities. This is a beautiful location,” Freeholder Patricia Sebold said.

“The County was very receptive to placing the dog park at the Hilltop location. Once again, our County Executive has proven he gets things done,” said North Caldwell Mayor Joseph Alessi, who was joined by Council President Cynthia Santomauro and Council members Frank Astorino and Joshua Raymond.

“We are happy that residents are now able to take advantage of this dog park. It’s another example of the great recreation facilities that are provide by our County Executive,” Verona Mayor Kevin Ryan said.

The Hilltop Dog Park is slightly less than 35,000 square feet in size and is divided so there are separate areas for small and large dogs. The small dog area is about one-quarter of an acre; the large dog area is about one-half an acre. The entrance has a decorative gate, brick paved pathway, information kiosk and new landscaping. Inside the park are apparatus on which canines can play, benches for their pet parents to sit, water fountains for owners and their dogs, and garbage cans and receptacles for dog bags. The entire area is fenced to prevent dogs from running away. Additional landscaping has been planted, trees were pruned and dead trees removed. Access to the Hilltop Dog Park is via the North Caldwell municipal parking lot on Courter Lane off of Mountain Avenue.

The Hilltop Dog Park will be the fourth dog park in the Essex County Parks System. The Watsessing Dog Park in Bloomfield/East Orange opened in 2005. The South Mountain Dog Park in Maplewood/Millburn opened in 2006. The Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield/Montclair opened in 2007. Every October, Essex County hosts popular Canine Costume Parades and Contests at the Brookdale and South Mountain Dog Parks.

Remington and Vernick from Secaucus was awarded a $34,200 professional services contract to design the dog park. Zenith Construction from East Orange was awarded a publicly-bid contract for $724,320 to perform the construction. The Essex County Department of Public Works monitored the project to answer questions and ensure delays were avoided. Funding was provided through the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund. Construction started in early April and was completed in less than three months.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 23 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. The Hilltop Reservation is about 240 acres and straddles the borders of Cedar Grove, Verona and the Caldwells.