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Run around: Work on long-awaited dog park in Brookyn’s Backyard delayed after contractor drops out

Dogged by delays: The Prospect Park Alliance back in 2017 shared renderings of the Parade Ground dog run, construction of which recently suffered a setback when the city’s chosen contractor pulled out of the job.
Brooklyn Daily
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This dog-run project is moving at a crawl.

Construction of a long-awaited pup playground at the Prospect Park Parade Ground ground to a halt after the contractor chosen for the project decided not to take the job, a spokeswoman for the Department of Parks and Recreation said.

The agency originally set a November 2018 deadline to wrap its year-long process of putting a contractor in place for the $640,000 job that a trio of local pols funded back in 2017.

And the surprise withdrawal of its first-choice outfit will now delay the project by at least five months as officials scramble to hire their second-choice bidder, according to rep Maeri Ferguson, who said department bigwigs hope to secure all necessary approvals by April.

Contractors typically have 12 months to complete projects for the Parks Department, so the recent snafu could push the dog run’s opening back to spring 2020, disappointing those locals who hoped their four-legged friends could start sniffing butts and chasing balls at the new park sometime this year, one of the project’s chief advocates said.

“It’s a bummer,” said Sal Garro, a leader of the Kensington Dog Run Association and the owner of terrier–grey hound mix Pocky.

Locals banded together to form the Association back in 2015, following their years of trying to bring a dog run to the area, which included a 2009 scheme leaders of Windsor Terrace’s Sean Casey Animal Rescue hatched to build a facility at Greenwood Playground that ultimately fizzled out.

That failed plan hasn’t stopped many pooch owners from using a dusty, fenced-in space at the triangular playground near Fort Hamilton Parkway as an unofficial dog run, however, where they’ve let mutts run off-leash for years while waiting for an official alternative.

But Parks Department leaders refuse to permit public use of that site due to conditions including poor drainage and exposed tree roots.

And cops will stop by every so often to issue fines to folks who let Fido run freely there, according to Garro, who said those violations are a big reason why his group wants the city to get a move on with the official Parade Ground run, which the local dog owners designed along with leaders of meadow conservancy the Prospect Park Alliance.

“Over the years, there’s been the occasional complaints and police come and ticket people who come with their dogs off leash,” he said.

Plans for the dog run in Brooklyn’s Backyard, which Borough President Adams, Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander, and Ditmas Park Councilman Mathieu Eugene all set aside taxpayer funds to create, include making dedicated areas for large and small pups, and laying synthetic grass tailor-made to be soft on paws, which should result in an excellent space for community canines to roam — however long it takes to build, Garro said.

“I’m so excited for it,” he said. “This neighborhood has been yearning for a dog run for a long time.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 7:16 pm, January 9, 2019
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