Aug. 27, 2018 By Christian Murray
The overhaul to the dog run at Doughboy Park is nearly complete, but many dog owners are already spotting issues with the run’s design and demanding change.
Rick Duro, the leader of the Sunnyside United Dog Society, says the Woodside run is too small, and that only a handful of dogs would be able to be in the space at a given time.
The run, measuring 1,325 square feet and nearly complete, is built on the footprint of the old beaten-up run, which was hardly used due to its diminutive size and lack of water, dog owners say.
“This is built for hamsters,” Duro said. “It wasn’t used before because it was too small. It won’t be used again unless it is bigger.”
Duro said there is approximately 700 square feet of space surrounding the run that appears to be set aside for shrubs. This underutilized space, he said, should be used to make the run larger.
The Sunnyside United Dog Society has convinced Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer that it needs to be larger, too. Last week, Duro, Van Bramer, and Queens Parks Commissioner Dotty Lewandowski took a site visit of the run.
“There is a lot of ground not being used and we have an opportunity to expand it,” Van Bramer said, adding, “I want a dog run that is successful and that the dog owners of Woodside can enjoy.”
Van Bramer said he allocated $250,000 toward the overhaul of the dog run in 2013.
The revamp was delayed for several years, since the site was used by the School Construction Authority as a staging area to build a new school building and playground at P.S. 11, located next to the park.
The SCA cut a deal with the Parks Dept. to build the dog run since it has been using the space. The Parks Dept, meanwhile, was tasked with constructing the staircase up the rocky hill to the run.
Van Bramer’s $250,000 was eventually steered toward building the staircase leading up to the dog run.
The plans for the dog run revamp were never presented to Community Board 2 or the Council Member’s office prior to construction. The Council Member believes the plans never surfaced because of the nature of the two-agency project. The dog run, he said, also appears to be more of a revamp than new construction, all built by an agency that is not known for building dog runs.
Van Bramer doesn’t expect the stair construction to be priced at the full $250,000, and wants the left over funds to go toward expanding the dog run instead. Furthermore, Doughboy Plaza, next to the dog run, will be undergoing a $1.5 million upgrade, where the Council Member might be able to find additional funds for the dog run’s expansion.
The dog run expansion and plaza overhaul should be put into one contract, Van Bramer said. He is currently in talks with NYC Parks about the move.
The dog run, while almost complete, will not be accessible until the end of the year, since the Parks has not started construction on the stairs. Without the stairs, dog owners are not permitted to use the run.
Van Bramer said it is too early to come up with a timeline for when the expansion could take place.