Paterson council questions spending almost $38,000 on sidewalks for River Street dog park | Paterson Times

Paterson council questions spending almost $38,000 on sidewalks for River Street dog park


Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration received some criticism from council members for agreeing to spend $37,860 to build sidewalks for the city’s new dog park on River Street.

Councilman Michael Jackson, who represents the area where the new park is situated, said the money could be better spent making improvements to other parks used by young people.

“The need for a sidewalk in a flood ridden area that’s only going to be utilized for a dog park is really unnecessary,” said Jackson. “We don’t need a brand-new sidewalk at a dog park. This money could be better spent.”

Jackson suggested using the funds to increase manpower in the public works department to better maintain local parks. He also suggested filling the sidewalk area with gravel, for he reasoned, dogs do not need sidewalks.

“The sidewalk is not just for the dog park. It’s for us to walk on as well,” said Shahin Khalique, 2nd Ward councilman.

Public works director Manny Ojeda and business administrator Nellie Pou indicated the new park cannot be opened for the public unless sidewalks are installed. Ojeda said work on the park has been completed and only the sidewalks remain.

“So what the park can’t open. It was poor planning to begin with,” said Jackson.

“My issue is future liability. If someone trips and falls it’s going to cost us much more than $40,000,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large.

Indeed, the city has paid out thousands of dollars to people who have suffered injuries from falling on sidewalks. For example, the city paid a woman $15,000 in May 2017 in a slip and fall lawsuit. Before that it paid out $10,000 in March 2017 to a man who injured himself on a walkway. In the second case, the man secured a $147,000 award. The city paid just 10-percent and the property owner had to pay the rest.

Morris said some people, like dog lovers, will “absolutely love” the new park, but others will see it as a waste. The location of the park appears to make sense, for the northern side of the city has more dogs than other areas. John DeCando, the city’s animal control officer, said the Lafayette Street firehouse conducts two separate rabies vaccination events every year to accommodate the large number of dogs in that area.

Other fire houses hold a single vaccination event for pets every year on Mother’s Day. “We had a lot of people show up,” he said on Thursday morning. He said 1,015 dogs and 118 cats were vaccinated in 2017.


The city in 2016 issued 1,016 dog licenses, according to the Paterson Division of Revenue. Every year dog owners have to pay approximately $15 to obtain licenses.

Council members Alex Mendez and William McKoy wondered why the contract isn’t being awarded to a Paterson business. Three out-of-town firms provided quotes.

Bloomfield-based J.A. Alexander, Inc. was the lowest. Quotes ranged from $37,860 to $57,050. Mendez inquired why the city even needs to contract out something as simple as building sidewalks.

Ojeda said the city had a mason, but this individual left for a higher paying job elsewhere.

McKoy said hiring local firms help to create jobs in the community. “We seem to prefer other folks over our own,” he said. “We don’t seem to have a mechanism where local contractors and business people can hear about the work that’s being offered in order to respond to bids.”

The city is required by law to advertise these jobs. Local contractors refuse to do business with Paterson for its failure to pay them on time.

With the sidewalk construction, the total cost for the dog park is now at $230,860. Council members awarded a $193,000 contract to Edison-based V & K Construction Inc. to build the dog park in Feb. 2017. Funds for the project came from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The $37,860 for the sidewalk is from the municipal coffers, said officials.

Council members approved the latest contract in a 5-2 vote. Jackson and McKoy voted against awarding the contract.

Email: [email protected]

This report was updated at 9:09 a.m. with stats and comments from animal control officer John DeCando.

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  • Plumber

    total cost for the dog park is now at $230,860, unbelievable waste of money for a freaking dog park and some times a water park, especially on river st, only a retard like joey could come up with this bullshit, I could see it now, not only can you visit the great falls, you can take your dog to the first historic dog park of Paterson, where there dogs and their owners can enjoy views of car traffic, pan handlers, prostitutes, drug dealers, then enjoy the unique odors of the area then at night enjoy the sounds of quaint gun fire in the short distance, then you can pray that no one hits you on the head with a brick and steals your wallet, what a freaking idiot joey is but I'm not surprised.

  • joe zerrani

    I don't believe the city spending thousands on a dog park is something wrong. They already built the dog park why not let them finish by building the sidewalk. oh and replying to plumber comment getting hit with a brick on your head happens anywhere and as well getting your wallet snatched.

    • Dominick Perez

      Yeah but far more likely to occur in Paterson

      • Vindicated

        LOL, the percentage is freaking, HIGH, in Paterson! Plumber, keep saying the truth. That money is probably going to some lawyers pocket!
        And I'm just being honest, yeah honest in Paterson, that's hard to do.

        • joe zerrani

          Yeah vindicated? Show me a city that's been fully honest then cast the stone.

    • Plumber

      hey joe I don't know where you live but I was born, schooled, worked for, retired from and still live in Paterson, real close to this park, I see what goes on in Paterson personally, politicians say the crime rate is down in Paterson (NOT), spending and overtime has decrease, yep I can tell just look around of course with the exception of hillcrest and eastside sections, nice job, buy a scanner and tune into the police frequency and listen how the police are bombarded with jobs all day and night, I can go on and on, if the newspaper would only print but half of what really goes on in Paterson and not the nonsense it would be an eye opener, so yes joe getting hit with a brick on your head happens anywhere and as well getting your wallet snatched, especially in Wayne where the crime rate is out of control, the likelihood of some unfortunate event happening to you in Paterson are very high compare to other nearby towns, joe you must be a liberal democrat who likes to sugar coat things that are wrong, I call it like I see it, because nothing will ever get fix anywhere until people recognizes what's wrong and admit to the real problems that exists, unlike you joe I believe that a dog park on river st will not help nor serve any purpose, I'm not knocking the Paterson I love but I will call out on the scum bag politicians, if the shoe fits and on all of the bad population of the Paterson and call on god to bless and keep the good folks of Paterson safe, so joe I'm putting you in your place in a nice way.

      • joe zerrani

        Lol plumber putting me in my place? I wasn't the one writing unwanted comments regarding Paterson and joe Torres. How about you go to the city hall and apply for mayor to see what better your going to do. People like you make me laugh yes people like you. You said you was born and raise in this city you surely don't sound/write like it. Oh and by the way once that park is ready to go I will walk my dog there and let me get hit on my head and have my wallet snatched lol. Keep your comments to yourself next time I personally don't want to read them. Now I put kind of put you in your place in an (honest) way.

        • Plumber

          thanks joe I needed that (LOL) don't blame me when you do walk your dog in the park one lovely evening and suddenly wake up and your wallets missing and your dog is knocked-up.

        • Dominick Perez

          You have your head up your ass

          • joe zerrani

            Head up my *** lol sorry mr Perez, you got the wrong person. Plumber, Perez and vindicated… guys! You guys watch too much news and movies. the media have you guys as their puppets, you guys should rent an apartment in Godwin ave and see the goods and then add. You have those that work and then those that don't want to work. As it is I'm Wayne, fairlawn totowa and Hawthorne.

          • Dominick Perez

            You definitely have your head up your ass because you just proved my point for me.

          • joe zerrani

            Point? You never had a point. Get some type of education and get more involve on solving issues and not making it worse. My head is where it needs to be unlike yours in other people's business.

          • Dominick Perez

            The point is that you have your head lodged firmly up your ass that's the point.

  • Dominick Perez

    I just drove by this boondoggle, the grass hasn't been cut and there's trash all around the perimeter. Who's cousin got the contract to build a useless dog park anyway? Everybody knows that in Paterson most people just let their dogs shyte on the street and don't clean it up lol.