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Help Design $650K Dog Run Slated for Bushwick Park

By Serena Dai | September 14, 2015 4:48pm
 Irving Square Park will soon have a dog run.
Irving Square Park will soon have a dog run.
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Facebook/Community Dog Run at Irving Square Park

BUSHWICK — Irving Square Park will finally get its own dog run after nearly 300 locals petitioned for the addition.

Discussions for a dog run in Irving Square Park, at Wilson Avenue and Halsey Street, start this week with a gathering on Tuesday to get feedback from the community about its design.

The run — made possible by $650,000 in funding from Councilman Rafael Espinal — comes about a year after locals started pushing for a place for their pups to play.

The Parks Department previously said Irving Square Park wouldn't be an appropriate place for a dog run, because too many trees would be impacted by construction.

But several trees damaged by superstorm Sandy have since died and come down, opening up space, according to the Parks Department.

"While no location [within the park] has been chosen at this time, Parks is looking forward to working with the community on this project," NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey said in a statement.

Locals started talking about building a dog run in the park after noticing more and more pet owners were coming to the area, said Nina Keneally, one of several neighbors who helped campaign for the cause.

Dog runs have specifications for safety, like high fences and separation between large and small dogs, Keneally said.

Currently, dog owners have unofficially been using a small fenced off area in the park to let their dogs run free, but the fence is too short and allows pups off their leash to jump over it, she said.

Keneally and her neighbors were "thrilled" to hear that the idea for a dog run was moving forward after collecting nearly 300 signatures from locals, she said.

"It increases the safety in the park," Keneally said. "It keeps the dogs in a safe place for people who are frightened of them, but it also just allows the dogs to get tired from playing with each other."

Irving Square Park is "central" to the neighborhood, Keneally said. People often host birthday parties in the park, and it's a spot where many end up meeting their neighbors.

"We’re really hoping to keep the park in good shape and keep it a special place," she said.

Espinal and the Parks Department will be hosting a meeting at the park on Tuesday at 5 p.m. to talk about ideas for the dog run's design.