A long-awaited dog run was dedicated with great joy and excitement.
The Pelham Parkway community saw a five-year goal realized as the NYC Parks Department cut a ribbon on a long-awaited dog run in Bronx Park East just south of the parkway near Boston Road on Tuesday, July 9.
The Bronx River Park Dog Run will give pooches both large and small a chance to run, stretch their legs and exercise.
It features separate exercise areas to accommodate size animals, and natural boulders as dog play elements, according to Parks.
The Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association had lobbied then Councilman James Vacca some years back for funding for the project after association members had to travel a great distance to other dog runs, such as the one in Pelham Bay Park, said Edith Blitzer, PPNA president.
Blitzer said that aside from the benefits the new park amenity will bring to dog owners, the dog run could serve to bring neighbors closer together in other ways.
“We wanted this dog run for another specific reason: because the people in the community could get to know each other while watching their dogs,” said Blitzer.
Andrea Siegel, a PPPA board member, said that facilities like the dog run bring people closer together and indicated the opening of the run can give community activists encouragement to advocate for further improvements.
Blitzer said after a PPPA member suggested the construction of a dog run for the Pelham Parkway community, she met over coffee with former Councilman James Vacca, who attended the ribbon cutting and said he was able to start the process and get the ball rolling for the project before he left office.
The $592,000 project was funded by Councilman Ritchie Torres’ $300,000 in capital funding, $238,000 from Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and $54,000 from Mayor de Blasio.
Councilman Mark Gjonaj took care of the water supply and made sure the run was placed where there was adequate shade.
“I think that the dog run is great, you can see there is so much enthusiasm,” said Gjonaj, adding “Immediately, the first thing that was brought to my attention was the lack of water supply, and we are going to address that quickly.”
One of the dog run’s inaugural users, Gene DeFrancis of Allerton, attended the ribbon cutting with his pets Ronin and Peppa.
Prior to the opening of this dog run, he said he would sometimes drive with his dogs to a beach, or even to parks in other counties for them to exercise.
“There was nothing nearby,” he said of the situation prior to July 9. “You can have a big dog (like these) in the city, but you have to exercise them because it is important for their health.”
Additional dignitaries and community members attending the ribbon cutting included Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez; Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, NYC Parks Bronx commissioner, and Community Board 11 members.