July 17, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
A plan to build a dog run under the Triboro/RFK Bridge has gotten a significant boost, with $1 million secured for its completion.
Many Astoria dog owners have been anticipating this new project since it was voted one of the winning items of Councilman Costa Constantinides’ Participatory Budgeting process.
Participatory Budgeting allows the public to decide how $1 million will be spent throughout the district. Astorians voted to spend part of this money on school upgrades, and $500,000 on building a dog run under the Triboro/RFK bridge, at Hoyt Avenue between 23rd Street and 24th Street.
Nearly 800 people voted for this item during Participatory Budgeting, according to a release from the Councilman’s office.
Following the PB vote, an additional $500,000 were secured by State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Borough President Melinda Katz, bringing the total funding for an Astoria dog run up to $1 million.
“This lot will be a designated place where dogs can play safely and share full enjoyment with their owners,” Constantinides said. “I am especially proud to know that our residents selected this project through Participatory Budgeting and that the community showed support for it. I thank Borough President Melinda Katz and Senator Gianaris for additional funding that will add to the features at the site.”
Gianaris said he felt compelled to support this project due to what he sees as high demand.
“Dog owners are moving into Western Queens, and while we’ve established incredible state of the art dog runs in Long Island City, Astoria has been trailing in terms of infrastructure,” he said. “You saw from the Participatory Budgeting process that the Councilman had, that [the dog run] was a very desired and popular agenda item.”
There are four dog runs in Long Island City’s Hunters Point neighborhood and a fifth on the way.
However Astoria dog owners have been relying on off-leash time at Astoria Park, or on Bugsy’s Dog Run – a notoriously small and dilapidated run near the park.
Bill Peloquin of the Astoria Dog Owners Association said he is “really excited” about the new funding.
“Having double what we were getting is amazing, and I think it’s really going to enable us to get a lot of the things that we feel are really necessary to have the best park we can have,” he said.
Features the ADOA hopes to see at the dog run include a double gate to prevent dogs from slipping out when somebody enters the park, a water feature for dogs to drink and a trash receptacle.
A timeline on the design and construction of the dog park will be under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department.