The Olde English Downtown Dog Park is Officially Open
The Olde English Downtown Dog Park is Officially Open
ALBANY, NY - The City of Albany and the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) held the official ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Olde English Downtown Dog Park on Wednesday, November 29, 2017. Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan, Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens, Downtown Albany BID Chairman Richard Rosen, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society Vice President for Philanthropy & External Affairs Michael Buckley, Olde English Pub & Pantry co-owner Greta Graydon, and artist Mark Gregory delivered remarks followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting and fundraising reception.
This major infrastructure project by the Downtown Albany BID transforms an under-utilized portion of Wallenberg Park – a patch of green space bordered by N. Pearl Street, Broadway, Clinton Avenue, and the 787 on-ramp at Orange Street - into an urban oasis for pups and their people. Featuring secure wrought-iron fencing, brand new benches, waste bag dispensers, and boulders for intrepid dogs to play on, the new park is brightened by a colorful mural from local artists Chip Fasciana and Mark Gregory. It’s one of just five true, enclosed dog parks in the City of Albany and the only one in Downtown, serving as both a highly-desired neighborhood amenity and a destination for visitors. This project is just part of the more than $100,000 invested in Downtown by the BID in 2017.
“We dubbed 2017 ‘The Year of The Dog’ in downtown Albany. From the Downtown is Pawsome Nipper sculptures adorning our streets to ‘pup-up’ community gatherings like the Hounds of Halloween doggy trick-or-treating event in October, we’ve truly built a neighborhood that’s welcoming both our two- and four-legged friends,” said Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens. With more than 380 residential units in the Downtown district completed in the last five years and another 500 units currently in development, the human and canine population in the neighborhood is on the rise. “Our residential base is growing year after year, and with more than 50% of those residential properties now welcoming pets, the Olde English Downtown Dog Park is a huge asset to the community. We are proud to be a dog-friendly downtown.”
“The Olde English Downtown Dog Park is a prime example of how underutilized spaces can be repurposed to fit the needs of our community,” said City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “New residents are embracing Downtown’s continual and positive transformation, and a dog park is an amenity that residents and visitors expect to find in a walkable, urban environment. Thank you to the Downtown BID and Olde English Pub & Pantry for enhancing the vibrancy of Albany’s newest neighborhood.”
A partnership on the dog park aligned perfectly with the business plans and community spirit of The Olde English Pub & Pantry’s management team. The Olde English – located in the historic Quackenbush House building at 683 Broadway - is home to one of the Capital Region’s most pet-friendly patios, a fully-enclosed and beautifully landscaped backyard where co-owners Mark and Greta Graydon, Jimmy and Demetra Vann, and Matt Baumgartner can often be found with their pups. The proprietors are all animal lovers who have worked hard to make both the Olde English Pub and its sister establishment, Wolff’s Biergarten, extremely welcoming to pet owners.
“We are beyond thrilled to unveil the Olde English Downtown Dog Park,” said Greta Graydon. “Located just across the street from the Pub, we’re proud to support this wonderful addition to our community. As one of the area’s most dog-friendly restaurants, teaming up with the Downtown Albany BID on the project seemed like a natural fit for us. We can’t wait to see even more pets and their owners in our neighborhood.”
Partial proceeds from a fundraising reception at The Olde English Pub & Pantry following the dog park ribbon cutting benefitted the programs of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. A partner in numerous “Year of the Dog” events with the Downtown Albany BID, the Humane Society is a non-profit organization that has been saving the lives of abused and neglected animals since 1887.
“Pets are family and this new park enriches the lives of families and their companion animals,” said Mohawk Hudson Humane Society President and CEO Todd Cramer. “We commend the Downtown BID for taking the lead in the greater Capital Region by ensuring its downtown is a safe and welcoming place for both people and their pets. This wonderful amenity proves, once again, that downtown Albany is a great place to live.”
Designed and painted by local artists Chip Fasciana and Mark Gregory, a whimsical, brightly-hued mural enlivens the southern end of the Olde English Downtown Dog Park. Vividly illustrated dogs now decorate the formerly drab gray concrete of the highway ramp at Orange Street. Fasciana and Gregory had collaborated on many projects through the art collective Albany Underground Artists in the past, but the mural served as a reunion of sorts as Fasciana recently returned to the area after some time spent on the west coast.
“I’m always humbled to work with Mark Gregory – he’s a good friend and a brilliant illustrator,” said Fasciana. Fasciana had previously worked on art installations with both the Olde English Pub and the Downtown Albany BID, and a chance meeting spurred the conversation that ultimately resulted in the mural. “I think serendipity is the best way to describe how this mural came about – it’s a true collaboration between the BID, the Olde English Pub, Mark and myself. Real local dogs are pictured in the mural, which reminds me of the Million Dollar Staircase at the Capitol, where artisans included the faces of their friends and family among the stone carvings.”
The Olde English Downtown Dog Park is now officially open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. The BID has also placed new waste bag dispensers throughout Downtown as part of its commitment to a dog-friendly neighborhood.