NISKAYUNA When Raymond Nicholas brings Juno and Velvet to Niskayuna’s dog park after work, he can now leave his car’s headlights off.
Nicholas, along with several other dog owners frequenting the pooch retreat nestled in the sprawling Blatnick Park, found as winter settled in there was more than just the nuisance of cold air as days shortened. The dog park, which many frequent after work, didn’t offer anything to light the fenced in area.
“No matter what the weather is … people will be there,” Nicholas said.
Juno and Velvet, a Siberian husky and black lab-chow mix, respectively, weren’t bothered by the cold, so Nicholas said he “bundled up” and drove to the park.
Mary Jane Sansevere started brainstorming a solution on how to light the night in a more practical manner than aim car lights into the park.
“I was running into the same people every night and they had their dogs, and we just stared talking and it became a nightly thing,” Sansevere said.
In July, she adopted Niki, a shepherd and boxer mix or “all-American mutt,” and starting walking Niki around her neighborhood. Someone eventually told her about the dog park one day, and since then she has become a park regular.
She started a Facebook page in September, Friends of the Niskayuna Dog Park, to help connect fellow park patrons for meet-ups and other activities. Eventually through the page, word of mouth and collecting emails, she started a movement to get lights installed at the dog park.
“I wrote to the town numerous times,” Sansevere said. “I think out of sheer annoyance they probably installed them.”
Councilwoman Julie McDonnell proposed the town find some method to light the park at night during winter months and eventually, the town settled on installing lights with motion sensors set to a timer.