2007-06-15 / Front Page

Community Board OKs Dog Run Site

By Brian Magoolaghan

The community board has unanimously endorsed Freeway Park as the site of a trial dog run.

Community Board 14 has endorsed a dog run at this location. Photo by Michelle Romano Community Board 14 has endorsed a dog run at this location. Photo by Michelle Romano The vote came Tuesday night at the board's monthly meeting, after Dan Mundy, the chair of Community Board 14's Public Safety and Parks Committee, told board members the location emerged as the front-runner at a well-attended committee meeting on June 5.

"My understanding is that there's no opposition to that location," said Mundy.

The same could not be said for at least two locations on Shore Front Parkway that were part of earlier dog run discussions and which drew the concern of many nearby residents. Members of the Allied Rockaway Foundation for Animal Recreation and Fitness (Arf Arf) recently withdrew their proposal for a location on Shore Front Parkway and resubmitted one for Freeway Park.

"Everyone seems to think that a dog run is a good idea but nobody wants it in their backyard," Mundy explained.

Joyous Arf Arf members told The Wave they realized that Freeway Park, which is located north of Beach Channel Drive at Beach 83 Street, is a "diamond in the rough" for several reasons: there are no homes nearby; there is grass (instead of asphalt that is found at other locations); there are trees for shade; and there is an existing trail for running dogs.

Susan Jasper of Arf Arf said the Department of Parks and Recreation's plan for a waste transfer station on part of that property was actually desirable because it would create the regular presence of Parks employees to the area and could bring facilities such as restrooms that could be shared by dog owners. The site is also big enough for the transfer station, the dog run and dedicated parking, they said. Arf Arf members also like the site's proximity to the future Arverne By The Sea Marina.

Rockaway Parks Administrator Jill Weber, City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer are planning to meet within the next two weeks to discuss funding necessary modifications to the park, including off-street parking, fencing, lighting, water and signage, according to sources familiar with the run.

It was unclear how long it would take for the three-month trial to begin, but Arf Arf and Parks appear to be champing at the bit.

"We're anxious to have an on-site meeting and talk about logistics," said Rockaway Parks Administrator Jill Weber, who added that she would be speaking with Parks project managers to see what was included in the transfer station plans and what additional work would be needed for the run.

Valerie McClean of Arf Arf said she was eager "to discuss the next steps."

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