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Village restricts dog use at Community Center

WATKINS GLEN—Village officials don’t want the Community Center in Clute Park to go to the dogs - or any other animals.
The village board Monday denied a request from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County to waive a $50-per-session fee for use of the center for dog obedience classes.
The classes, which have already begun, drew fire from board members, who said dogs could damage the newly refinished Community Center floor.
“The Community Center is for people,” said Trustee Nick Kelly. “Dog urine can damage the floor finish.”
A half-dozen additional classes are scheduled in April and May at the village-owned facility, which is frequently rented for such events as antique shows, wedding receptions and dinner dances.
“Maybe we should suggest that they use the (nearby) tennis court area instead,” said Mark Specchio, public works superintendent.
The board unanimously approved a proposal by Kelly that any future use of the Community Center for events involving animals be approved in advance by the village board.
Meanwhile, Cooperative Extension will be allowed to complete its schedule of classes if it pays the $50 fee for each session, said Village Clerk Donna Beardsley.
The board also heard Monday that the Watkins Glen Fire Department will receive a $57,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an exhaust filtration system to be installed on fire trucks.
Fire Chief Dominick Smith said the fire department will contribute $3,000 toward the cost of the system from its 2009-2010 budget.
Smith said the department has pursued the grant for four years. The filtration system will remove carcinogens from the trucks’ exhaust, keeping the air in the fire station cleaner as the vehicles are being backed into the facility.
Other communities with similar systems include West Elmira, Elmira Heights, and the city of Elmira, Smith said.
“They work very well,” Specchio added.
The filters used in the trucks cost about $200 each and can last up to two years, Smith said. The grant will cover the cost of some replacement filters, he said.
In other action, the board tabled a request from Freedom Village USA to use Lafayette Park for a July 4 musical celebration. Mayor Judy Phillips said the proposed 8 to 10 p.m. patriotic concert should be moved to 7 to 9 p.m. and that the event needs to be evaluated by the village Police Department before a decision is made. She said the later concert hours could disturb residents who live near the park.
The next village board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 6, when the officials will hear a presentation on a downtown improvement project.

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