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Dog Park Threatened by LaGuardia Revamp Has Been Spared by Port Authority

By Katie Honan | August 29, 2016 7:58am
 The proposed dog park, on 94th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, was announced in 2015. 
The proposed dog park, on 94th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, was announced in 2015. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

EAST ELMHURST — The Port Authority says it will no longer use a parcel of land earmarked for a long-awaited dog park as a staging area during its multibillion dollar LaGuardia Airport renovation after DNAinfo New York inquired about the plan.

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferrreras-Copeland first announced $3.2 million in funding for Overlook Park, along Ditmars Boulevard, in October.

Of that amount, the city provided $1.5 million for the dog run, the first in the neighborhood, which would be built in an empty piece of land on the corner of 94th Street and Ditmars Boulevard.

"As a community of many dog lovers, we are also thrilled to have a proper place for our four-legged friends to roam freely and live more active lifestyles," she said in 2015.

But those plans were in limbo Friday morning after the Port Authority expressed interest in the land — and other "park parcels" in East Elmhurst — to use during its estimated $4 billion airport project, sources said. 

After calls and emails to the Port Authority by DNAinfo on Friday, they changed course — saying they "will not use that parcel for LaGuardia Airport construction staging."

The Parks Department said the Port Authority expressed interest in using park space during the renovation but they were still moving forward with the dog park plan.

"NYC Parks is fully committed to bringing a new dog run to East Elmhurst-Jackson Heights, and we are currently working through details to make the dog run a reality," a Parks Department spokesman said. The timeline for the project is not immediately clear.

Ferreras-Copeland, in a statement, referred to other parkland along the Grand Central Parkway taken over by the Port Authority through years of construction — and remained committed to the promised dog park.

"My community was excited at the announcement that a dog run would be built in East Elmhurst on land that we recovered after years of encroaching construction," she said. "We look forward to the fulfillment of that promise without delay."