By Mark Hallum
A clean-up effort at Little Bay Park Dog Run took place by volunteers from the city Parks Department, the Cambria Heights Academy for New Literacies and the 109th Precinct Community Affairs this month.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who led the project when he still a councilman, was on hand for the Oct. 14 event.
Lisa Krawiecki, a volunteer coordinator for Parks, said the school offered their services through a program which requires their students to fulfill community service hours through two project every year.
Krawiecki thought the volunteer turnout and community support for the cleanup was an ode to her uncle, the late Warren Berndt, who used to organize a yearly effort to have the park cleaned up until his recent death.
“This really feels like a nice tribute to him, even though it was just coincidental. My uncle was a school administrator. He was always around kids. He taught for 40 years. He was a staple to the dog run, and he is missed very much,” Krawiecki said.
Cambria Heights Academy for New Literacies at 188-04 91st Ave. requires their students to engage in two community service projects every year, and it was the junior class who offered their time to clean up the park.
The Bagel Club, located at 20521 35th Ave. in Bayside, donated 10 dozen bagels to fuel the volunteer effort, Krawiecki said.
“The Little Bay Park Dog Run is something that the community and I fought very hard to make a reality and is something we will work to preserve,” Avella said. “The annual cleanup that we do allows the park to continue to be a thriving piece of the Whitestone community. I was more proud, however, to be joined this year by the Cambria Heights Academy for New Literacies. Participation by teenagers in the cleaning of local parks and shorelines makes me confident that the environment will continue to be maintained so that generations to come can enjoy the charm of a New York park.”
The dog run, located between Whitestone and Bayside, was first constructed in 2009 by Avella, who allocated $500,000 to the new park to replace the temporary dog run which stood in its place. The project included a shaded pavilion, two separate runs for large and small dogs and an asphalt path connecting it to Utopia Parkway waterfront.
The proposal to build a dog run at this location created tensions among residents and even led to fisticuffs at a 2004 Community Board 7 meeting between two representatives of Robinwood Homeowners Association and the Freedom Run Association over cleanliness concerns in the neighborhood.
Community cleanups such as this take place with regularity at the Little Bay Park Dog Run.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall