NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The new Off-Leash Dog Park in the Essex County Hilltop Reservation in North Caldwell opened on Friday, becoming the fourth dog park in Essex County parks.  

"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 Reservation is about 240 acres and straddles the borders of Cedar Grove, Verona and the Caldwells.  The park was developed in response to requests from North Caldwell officials who met with the county last fall to discuss the idea.  

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"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," Essex County Executive Joseph 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.

"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.

Just less than 35,000 square feet, the dog park is divided into separate areas for small and large gogs.  The small dog area is about one-quarter of an acre; the large dog area is about one-half an acre. A decorative gate and brick paved pathway was built whicn includes an information kiosk and new landscaping.  The park contains appartus for dogs to play on and benches for their owners to sit -- in addition there are 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.

Residents can access the park 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.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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