Dog run not likely for Loreto Playground

How the dog run could look in Loreto Park.
Courtesy of the petition

While a petition for a dog run at Loreto Playground had garnered nearly 600 signatures, it appears man’s best friend will be shunned from having a place to roam free and enjoy other furry friends.

On May 5, the Community Board 11 Parks Committee declined to vote on issuing the dog run a letter of support as members explained that since St. Francis Xavier, the nearby school, doesn’t want the park there, their hands are tied.

“We can’t support it unless they (the school) support it,” said Committee Member Lisa Soto.

CB 11 Chair Al D’Angelo told the Bronx Times that parents and faculty are concerned about the safety of the children.

Morris Park resident Matt Caulfield, an owner of two dogs, who launched the petition in January,   was hoping to repurpose the underused southeast corner of the park near Van Nest Ave and Tomlinson Ave to use as a dog run. This area is already enclosed with adequate fencing on three sides and there are benches for people to sit.

Caulfield expressed frustration with the situation.

“From my point of view, the community board should back the community’s feeling,” he stressed. “I’m trying to do my part to show this is what the community wants.”

Caulfield feels everyone is passing the buck. The community board told him to speak with Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Gjonaj’s office said vice versa.

Making matters worse, it seems like the parks department is not on the same page either.

A Parks spokesman told the Bronx Times the bocce court, which was renovated in 2011, is heavily used and is not the right place to build a dog run. However, it will work with the community to find alternative locations for the neighborhood’s furry friends to enjoy.

Meanwhile, Matt Doiron from the Parks Department attended the meeting last week and discredited rumors that the Parks Department made statements against the proposal. He was also able to verify that in his observation the bocce count hasn’t been used in 10 years and that that corner of the park just gets filled with leaves and trash.

He also expressed interest in presenting the petition to the Bronx Parks Commissioner.

Caulfield feels the dog run is in limbo and is not sure what to do at this point.

“At this point I’m just backing off the project,” Caulfield said. “I don’t need the dog park for myself. I saw the part of the park not being used.”

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