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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Roosevelt Island Dog Park Update & Options For New Southtown Dog Run From Petey's Dad

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council member for the Octagon building and dog dad to Roosevelt Island’s most famous black lab mix Petey,

A post shared by ScottyP (@scottpiro) on

Scott Piro reported last June 1 that:
... something was rotten in the state of our Dog Parks...
Mr. Piro provides this update:
Here is an update of my August 22nd meeting with RIOC parks and recreation director Mary Cunneen:

1 - The rumor that the South Dog Run will relocate to the field in front of the tram station is not true. In fact, RIOC is installing an “I ❤ Roosevelt Island” statue there for tourists to pose in front of.

2 - However, the South Run will definitely move. I don’t have a time frame on when. It depends when construction begins on the two new SouthTown buildings.

3 - Until the South Run moves, emphasis on improvements will be placed on the North Run. Upgrades to the existing South Run are unlikely unless it’s determined that construction on the new SouthTown buildings will not begin for more than one year into the future.

4 - Mary welcomed our input for suggested locations where to move the South Dog Run. I sought your input and got some good ideas back from you. I scouted locations around SouthTown, shot photos and wrote up a report of 7 potential locations. Mary and I are planning a walkthrough together within the next two weeks.

5 - The following repairs are green lit for both North and South Dog Runs:
  • Benches (already happened)
  • Posting of signage with dog run rules. Mary has provided me a draft, and I am working with her on the language and content.
  • Gates will be relocated from corners to sides. This will prevent dogs already inside the Run from cornering dogs who are entering. It will decrease the probability of fights breaking out when new dogs enter, and it will relieve stress for anxious dogs.
6 - More expensive improvements, such as running water, will take longer to achieve. RIOC used the phrase “down the line.” I asked for some clarification, and it was explained to me that the 2018-19 RIOC budget has already been approved. If we want funding for running water, we’ll have to start lobbying RIOC in January 2018 for the 2019-2020 budget, which will be finalized in May/June 2018. It’s unclear which category (expensive or do-able) some of the other improvements on our list fall into - including new landscaping and a change to to the base/floor of the Runs (from dirt to a kind of gravel or pebble-base). Mary did say she’s doing research into “decomposed granite” and pebble bases, so it’s possible those changes could come sooner than the 2019-2020 budget.

7 - Grass inside the dog runs will be mowed regularly. RIOC recently purchased new mowing equipment with more flexibility to maneuver in small spaces/tight corners.If you see the grass become too tall (or you notice other problems or have any complaints), you should either email or look for the “fix it” link in the middle of this page on RIOC’s website. Both methods are monitored throughout the day. Sometimes it may take a while for Mary to get a firm answer from RIOC higher ups in order to answer you, but she says this method is faster than tweeting @riocny.
Mr. Piro reviews possible location options for a new Southtown Dog Park including Blackwell Park, Meditation Steps, Firefighters Field, Queensboro Bridge, Cornell Tech and other areas

Mr. Piro provided the September 6 RIRA Common Council meeting with this report and discussion followed.

Here's an example of what I am told is an excellent Dog Park at

Hunters Point South Park across the East River in Long Island City.