By Rebecca Henely
A dog run off Vernon Boulevard that has for some time been a green-and-brown fenced-off lot will more than double in size and sport numerous amenities after construction finishes.
Legislators and community leaders announced the improvements to the run at a news conference early last week. The office of state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said the improved Vernon Boulevard Dog Run, on the west side of the boulevard at 48th Avenue, will be expanded from 4,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet. In the process, the run will also be cleaned out, regraded and leveled off with a gravel surface that will be more dog-friendly. There will be separate, fenced-off areas for large dogs and small dogs.
The updated run will also include drinking fountains for both dogs and people, new lighting, new covered trash cans, railings which will protect the existing trees from dogs and shade structures, Gianaris’ office said.
“The refurbishment of this dog run is a reflection of Long Island City’s development as a hospitable, animal-loving community,” the senator said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing western Queens residents and their pets taking advantage of all this new dog run will offer.”
The refurbishment came about through a partnership between the Queens West Development Corp. and the state Parks Department. Anna Adams-Sarthou, spokeswoman for Gianaris, said the construction costs are $150,000, paid by Queens West.
“We expect the community of dogs and dog owners to run and play off-leash for many years to come,” said Rose Harvey, Parks Department commissioner, in a statement.
Paul Januszewski, president of the corporation, said the dog run will serve as a link between the neighborhood’s waterfront and the retail corridor on Vernon Boulevard.
Gianaris, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and the 400-member advocacy group Dog Owner Group Long Island City all have been pushing for the project, Harvey said.
“This renovated dog run is much needed in this ever-growing community,” Nolan said in a statement.
Van Bramer said in a statement that the dog run will be a much-needed service in Long Island City.
“Dog owners will now have a newly designed and expanded space where dogs and their best friends can exercise safely in their own backyard,” Van Bramer said.
Adams-Sarthou said construction on the dog run will be complete in two to three weeks. The project will culminate with a ribbon-cutting.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.