By Chris Engelhardt
Elected officials, community leaders and representatives of the Sunnyside United Dogs Society celebrated the reopening last week of Lou Lodati Park in Sunnyside, an event that overjoyed both dog owners and their four-legged friends alike.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who spearheaded the ceremony, was joined by Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley and dog owners and their canines Saturday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony recognizing the reopening of Lou Lodati Park.
The $1.4 million renovation of the park, at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue, was made possible with $700,000 secured by Van Bramer and another $700,000 allocated by Borough President Helen Marshall.
The renovation, Van Bramer said, will provide a formal dog run, improved asphalt sports courts and new greenery throughout the area. The new dog run is bordered by planting beds and includes space for small and large dogs with benches and drinking fountains for the pets.
“The renovations of Lou Lodati Park have transformed what was once only an asphalt field into a sprawling multifaceted facility which will be used by our local families, their children, seniors, dog owners and their four-legged friends,” Van Bramer said.
Last year, Van Bramer worked with the Parks Department to break ground on the newly redesigned park after working with community leaders and families to incorporate amenities in the area for neighborhood residents.
The existing basketball, softball and volleyball courts were resurfaced with new, color-sealed pavement to enhance the appearance and durability of the courts, and the park’s dog run was designed with the help of the Sunnyside United Dog Society.
Officials, including city Parks Commissioner Veronica White, lauded Van Bramer and Marshall for their efforts to ensure that the park was redesigned to better meet the needs of those in the community.
“Lou Lodati Park is now a great community amenity for Sunnyside residents, whether they have two legs or four,” White said. “Thanks to this renovation, they’ll have even more opportunities to have fun and stay in shape, with resurfaced sports courts and new dog runs.”
In a statement, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) said the renovated park will serve as a lasting resource in the community, one residents and visitors will be able to enjoy for years to come.
“Lou Lodati Park has gone to the dogs, and that’s a good thing!” Quinn said. “Congratulations to every member of the Sunnyside community who will enjoy this beautifully renovated park with family, friends and dogs. The new dog run will be a great source of unleashed fun.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.