Some Bronx residents will soon have a place where they and their pets can socialize.
NYC Parks Department officials and community members were on hand on Monday, December 4 to announce the construction of a new dog run in Bronx Park near Boston Road, adjacent to a recently completed greenway.
A groundbreaking for the project, which is currently in its procurement process, is expected to take place in spring 2018, said a Parks spokeswoman.
The new 17,700 square-foot dog run will include two separate sections for larger and smaller four-legged friends and came to fruition after a meeting between members of the Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association and outgoing Councilman James Vacca, PPPA members said.
Jacqueline Lutnick, a PPPA board member who spearheaded the effort along with fellow members, said she and a co-worker who lives in nearby Morris Park met while walking their dogs in the park and discussed the idea.
“I think this is something that is needed in the community,” said Lutnick. “People take their dogs to the park and in the park there are many children, so maybe it will make it safer for everyone.”
She said she also hopes that having a central location where two- and four-legged friends can mix and mingle might also encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets, which is sometimes a problem.
Lutnick, the owner of a Shih Tzu named Kelev (Hebrew for dog), said that dogs need socialization as much as their masters, and there are services which sometimes charge dog owners for the privilege, so the dog park will provide a needed amenity.
Because much of the Pelham Parkway community lives in apartment buildings, it will provide a much-needed place for dogs to be dogs, she said.
Edith Blitzer, PPPA president, said she believes that when the facility is completed, the dog run will provide a place for neighbors to socialize.
“Pelham Parkway is a real melting pot of a community and this a great way for neighbors to meet neighbors while walking their dogs,” said Blitzer, adding, “I think it is terrific because people of different backgrounds will be able to meet and talk, and I believe this will make for better relations.”
Both Vacca and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. allocated funding to the project — $300,000 and $150,000 respectively.
“Once completed, the new dog park is going to be a great opportunity for neighborhood residents to meet and engage with each other right outside of their homes with their dogs,” said Diaz. “By building facilities like this, my hope is they will help to enhance the social experience not only for dogs but for their owners as well.”
Vacca said that many parks have strict regulations regarding where dogs can be allowed off their leashes. Dog runs provide space in parks for the pets to be able to exercise and socialize without a leash.
“It’s important for our four-legged Bronxites to have a place to run and play,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Bronx Parks commissioner, adding the agency is excited to make the idea a reality.