TRIBECA — An innovative dog park that caters to canines' comfort and aesthetic tastes is on its way to TriBeCa.
The oval dog run, opening in 2013 as part of a new $6.5 million section of Hudson River Park, will include separate areas for large and small dogs, a dog-sized drinking fountain and gray-blue pavement designed to appear vibrant blue through a dog's color-blind eyes, the Hudson River Park Trust said last week.
The centerpiece of the dog run, near the base of Pier 26 at Hubert Street, will be a playful water feature that dogs can activate by hopping on a bollard, much like the spray fountains for children in other parks around the city, said Marc Boddewyn, vice president of design and construction at the Trust.
The dog park will also feature umbrellas to keep dogs cool in the summer, because the trees surrounding the park will initially be too young to provide shade, Boddewyn said.
As Boddewyn presented the designs to Community Board 1's Waterfront Committee last week, some members raised concerns about devoting so much money to Downtown's four-legged residents, when social service programs for their two-legged companions are facing cuts.
"Money is tight these days," said Joel Kopel, a Financial District resident and CB1 member, adding that she was uncomfortable with the idea that the city was planning on "spending hundreds of thousands of dollars [on] a dog park."
Boddewyn replied that the dog run has been in the works for years and is actually less expensive to build than some other sections of Hudson River Park, because the materials are simpler.
The dog run is part of a new two-block section of the park planned between North Moore and Laight streets, connecting the new Pier 25 to the northern TriBeCa esplanade, officials said.
In addition to the dog run, the new section will also include two curving lawns, landscaped bike and walking paths and a flexible open space between Pier 25 and Pier 26 with room for gatherings of up to 2,000 people.
On Pier 26, the Trust plans to build a boathouse and a restaurant, but it is still unclear what will happen to the vacant western end of the pier. The long-planned maritime education center there still needs millions of dollars of additional funding and does not yet have a construction timeline.
Work on the rest of the new section is scheduled to begin in early 2012, pending the Trust's approval in January.
The new park would then open in the spring of 2013, just after planting season.
"It's going to be beautiful," said Bob Townley, chairman of CB1's Waterfront Committee and executive director of Manhattan Youth, which runs activities on the new Pier 25.
"It's an amazing park."