Parks Asks Rockaway: Dog Run, Anyone?
That's the gist of a letter that's equal parts update and invitation, which was sent out recently by Parks' Rockaway Administrator, Jill Weber, to people who have already expressed interest in a dog run for Rockaway.
In the letter, Weber reminds people that Parks "won't initiate a dog run without an established group to assist in the management of the location."
The problem, Weber told The Wave this week, is that after a meeting was held at The Beach Club last September, no such group has materialized despite a strong turnout and a successful "It's My Bark Day" event held last October at one of the proposed locations.
Rockaway's administrator said she wants to evaluate whether or not people are still interested in a local dog run and to hopefully meet a few enthusiastic dog owners who are willing to take a leadership role. "People shouldn't be scared off," she said. "It's not a huge commitment." She's inviting anyone interested in participating in "the creation of a secured location in the Rockaways where you and your four-legged friends could recreate and socialize" to attend an upcoming meeting, which will include a van tour of the proposed sites.
Representatives from Partnerships for Parks, a group that, according to its website, "works to increase public support and involvement in parks throughout New York City," will be there to help get things going.
The two major site contenders are an old shuffleboard court between Beach 103 and 104 Streets on Shore Front Parkway, and the other is Freeway Park which is located where the subway trestle makes landfall, just north of the Hammels Houses. Last November, The Wave reported that about 300 people, mostly residents of nearby apartment buildings, had signed a petition opposing the shuffleboard court location. Weber's letter suggests that not only is the site selection still up in the air, but that the dog run is at risk of becoming a back burner issue if nobody takes the leash.
City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr., who has said he will provide funding for a dog run in his district, succinctly summarized the status of the dog run this way: "The fate of a dog run in Rockaway lies in the hands of its residents, as it should be." He added that he was encouraged by Parks' continued interest.
The dog run meeting is scheduled to take place at the lifeguard shack on Beach 106 Street on Sunday, February 11 at noon. Weber is asking anyone interested in attending to R.S.V.P. immediately to 718-318-4000 and to "pass the word on to others who might be interested."