By Howard Koplowitz
Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) helped break ground Friday on a controversial new permanent dog run for Little Bay Park.
The new permanent dog run, which cost $500,000, is scheduled to open in the spring.
“This is great,” said Miguel Chavez, president of the Freedom Run Association, a nonprofit that will maintain and monitor the dog run for the city. “It’s been a long time coming.”
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for a coordinated effort,” said Avella, who secured $500,000 for the permanent dog run.
A temporary run in the park has been so successful that it warranted building a permanent structure, according to the Parks Department.
“It has been a huge success,” Avella said. “I’m happy I was able to get the money to do this.”
City Councilman-elect Dan Halloran, who attended the groundbreaking with his dog, Dasher, said the new dog run will be beneficial to the community because it is a great way for dogs to socialize when backyards are not big enough.
The Little Bay dog run will include separate runs for large and small dogs, paw-friendly stone screening, flowering plants, a shade structure with benches and an asphalt path connecting the run to the waterfront and Utopia Parkway, according to Parks.
Back in 2004, the Robinwood Homeowners Association said it was opposed to the dog run because of its proximity to the entrance of the park and fecal odors from the dogs while the Freedom Run Association claimed the homeowners association was implementing scare tactics.
A Community Board 7 meeting held that year led to a bloody fist fight between two representatives from the Robinwood Homeowners and the Freedom Run Association.
The Robinwood Homeowners could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.