By Julie Ross
Hilltop Reservation in North Caldwell—or at least, a part of it—will be going to the dogs this coming
summer with the opening of the Hilltop Dog Park there on or around July 12.
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced plans for the new off-leash park in late
Accessible via the North Caldwell municipal parking lot on Courter Lane off of Mountain Avenue, the dog
park will be slightly less than 35,000 feet in size and will feature separate areas for small and large dogs.
The small dog area will span about one-quarter of an acre of space and the large dog area, about one-
half an acre of space. All play areas will have a stone dust surface that is used in other local dog parks
and is said to work well for drainage.
In addition to ample spaces for dogs to run, the inside of the park will have climbing apparatus designed
for canines, as well as benches for owners, water fountains for dogs and dog owners, garbage cans, and
separate receptacles for bags that contain dog waste. All areas will be completely fenced in to prevent
dogs from running away. Other features of the park will include a decorative gate, a brick paved
pathway, an information kiosk and new landscaping.
DiVincenzo said the impetus for the park came from requests by officials of North Caldwell to add an off-
leash dog facility in West Essex. He called the creation of the park “an example of how Essex County
works with its 22 municipalities to enhance residents’ quality of life and ensure that the county’s open
spaces continue to meet the needs of the community.”
He added that the public continues to look to the Essex County Park System for recreation
opportunities—including “pet parents wanting places where their canines can run and play without
being on a leash.”
Other municipal and county executives expressed enthusiasm about the facility’s debut.
“This is an ideal location for a dog park because it is within walking distance of four municipalities,” said
Cynthia Santomauro, president, North Caldwell Borough Council. “It is really being done for the
residents of Essex County.”
Brendan Gill, president, Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, called the project “wonderful,”
adding that the board is always enthusiastic about working on projects that “create places for people to
recreate and gather.”
Area residents, too, are very excited at the prospect of access to a local dog park. “I’m anxious to see it
and check it out,” said Loren Edelstein of Caldwell, whose dog, Emmitt Smith Edelstein, is an eight-year-
old cockapoo. “With facilities especially for dogs, it should be a great alternative to Grover Cleveland
Park, where we sometimes take our dog.” Edelstein also looks forward to meeting fellow dog owners at
Chrissy Delaney-Grasso of West Caldwell said she is “very happy” to know that there will be somewhere
new to take her family’s 12-year-old Siberian husky, Maya, who loves to run free. “I’m sure she will
enjoy making new friends this summer at the dog park,” Delaney-Grasso stated.
Hilltop Dog Park will be the fourth dog park in the Essex County Parks System. The other three dog parks
in the system are Watsessing Dog Park in Bloomfield/East Orange; South Mountain Dog Park in
Maplewood/Millburn; and Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield/Montclair. Remington and Vernick of
Secaucus was awarded a $34,200 professional services contract to design Hilltop Dog Park, while Zenith
Construction of East Orange was awarded a publicly bid contract for $724,320 to perform the