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Pet Owners Eyeing Spot Under Triborough Bridge for Astoria Dog Run

By Jeanmarie Evelly | October 24, 2014 12:40pm | Updated on October 27, 2014 8:46am
 Dog owners in Astoria say two lots under the RFK Bridge would be a good place to build a new dog run.
Dog owners in Astoria say two lots under the RFK Bridge would be a good place to build a new dog run.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — Pet owners looking to build a new dog run in the neighborhood are eyeing two spaces under the Triborough Bridge as potential sites for a future pup playground.

The Astoria Dog Owners Association — which started a petition last month for a modern dog run in the community — is hoping to see the run built on either Triborough Bridge Playground C or Triborough Bridge Playground D, according to chairman Bill Peloquin.

The two sites, on Hoyt Avenue between Crescent and 23rd streets, are fenced-in lots currently home to handball and basketball courts, which Peloquin says are underutilized.

"Most of the time it's either locked up, or there's hardly anybody using that area," he said, adding there are additional basketball courts in nearby Astoria Park. The group would also be willing to share.

"These are big spaces," he said. "Hypothetically, if Parks doesn’t want to give us the entire lot, there's definitely a chance we could use a portion of it."

There's currently only one dog run in Astoria, a fenced-in space just outside Astoria Park that some online reviewers have said is too small and rundown.

Peloquin and his group are pushing for a new run, saying they would like to see something comparable to dog parks in other city neighborhoods, with things like a water for dogs to drink and separate areas for big and small dogs.

In a statement, the Parks Department said it would "consider allowing a dog run in Astoria with the approval of the Community Board, and the presence of an organized community group that could maintain the dog run and enforce rules regarding its use."

Peloquin said his group would take on this role, and that they are also working with the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, which offered to sponsor them.

He said the spot is ideal because it's covered by the bridge, offering dogs and their owners refuge from the sun or bad weather, has a water source nearby and is close to the popular Astoria Park.

The group had originally wanted to build a dog run inside Astoria Park, but didn't want to compromise the off-leash hours there, as parks with dog runs don't have them, according to the Parks Department.

Peloquin said the group is working to get funding in place, and will be suggesting the proposal during a series of participatory budgeting sessions, where Astoria residents will be able to vote on how to spend $1 million in their district.

Their online petition for a new dog run has more than 600 signatures.

City Councilman Costa Constantinides said he has been working with the community and the Parks Department on the issue.

"We all agree that there is a need for a dog run in Astoria and we are in the process of solidifying a site," he said in a statement. "We are looking into a number of potential sites that include Triborough C or D Playgrounds and will continue to research next steps with the input of the community."