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Monday, May 13, 2019

Roosevelt Island Community Dog Advocate Asks RIOC To Keep Promise For Shaded Structure At South Dog Run During Board Meeting Public Session - RIOC Replies Temporary Shade Structure Will Be Installed Later This Month

Roosevelt Island Community Dog Advocate Scott Piro has been working with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to improve conditions at the Southtown Dog Run. Last January, Mr. Piro reported on successful efforts to find a solution for the muddy mess that becomes the South Dog Run following any rain.

Mr Piro also noted last January that RIOC would:
.... erect a shade structure for the southern run before summer, so the animals can be comfortable.
Image of South Dog Run Taken Last Saturday

But, Mr Piro reported during the May 9 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Public Session being told the South Dog Run structure would not be built.  Mr. Piro urged RIOC to keep the promise made by former RIOC Director of Capital Planning Steve Noone to install a shade structure for the dogs using the South Run. Here's Mr. Piro speaking during the Public Session.

Today, I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
During the Roosevelt Island May 9 RIOC Board of Directors Meeting Public Session, Roosevelt Island Dog Advocate Scott Piro asked about a prior RIOC promise to erect a shaded structure over the South Dog Run.

Mr Piro said the promises was made by former RIOC Director Of Capital Projects Steve Noone and was planned to be in place before this summer.

Mr Piro added that he was recently informed that RIOC no longer intends to build the South Dog Run Shade Structure. Is that true?

Any statement from RIOC on building the South Dog Run Shade Structure?
Newly hired RIOC Assistant VP of Capital Planning and Projects Jonna Carmona-Graf replied:
Regarding your inquiry, RIOC has contracted for design services to relocate the South Dog Run into Blackwell Park. As such, a permanent shade structure will not be installed in the current dog run. We found a product that can be installed as a temporary means to provide shade for the dogs at the current location of the dog run this season. This should be installed as a pilot later this month.
Mr Piro shares this message he sent to RIOC Director David Kraut, President Susan Rosenthal and Ms Carmona-Graf earlier today:
David and Susan, thank you for hearing my presentation during the public session of last week's board meeting.

Jonna, please allow me to introduce myself: my name is Scott Piro, and I am the former secretary of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. I'm also the unofficial representative for the Island's dog-owning community.

I hope to begin collaborating with you soon on "Petey's Dog Run" -- the name dog-owning residents are using for the Hudson Related-funded dog run coming in Q4 2019 to the redesigned Blackwell Park. My activism was central in moving the project ahead to 2019 from its original 2021 completion date. It was I, who initially scouted the locations for what was originally intended to be a temporary south dog run -- when Hudson Related's run was originally slated to be built inside the upcoming "Commons East."

Last week Mary Cunneen told me of RIOC's decision to scrap plans to erect a no-frills shade structure along one side of the temporary south run. Island residents are very unhappy with this decision, and my objection to it was the focus of my public session presentation last week. As I pointed out:

1) RIOC's Steve Noone promised the organization would build the shade structure -- despite the temporary south run's lifespan expected to last only until Q4 2019.

2) The dogs don't know or care that the south run is temporary. They only know how hot it gets in there starting at this time of year -- so hot, in fact, that they will squeeze themselves under the benches inside for any relief. There is no running water inside the temporary run, and of course the animals cannot efficiently regulate their body temperature, because they do not sweat.

3) When residents pointed out earlier this year that the south run had become an unusable mud pit for days after it rained -- because of downhill water runoff -- RIOC intially threw its hands up and said it could do nothing. Mary had discussed solutions with the grounds teams, and they concluded a cost-effective solution was impossible. But residents persisted and brainstormed -- and eventually we persuaded RIOC to build a no-frills, low wooden barrier around the dog run. The response has not only kept the water flow out of the run, it has also enhanced incomplete fencing that had been allowing smaller dogs to escape.

We call upon RIOC to honor its promise and erect a no-frills shade structure along one side (probably southern or eastern sides -- where resulting shadows would be longest and fall upon locations inside the dog run). Despite the southern dog run's temporary status, erecting a solution remains an imperative upon wihch RIOC should make good.

Mary and Jonna -- please keep me in the loop on the timing of implementing the solution you come up with. The dogs have caught a lucky break with all this cool weather. But it's going to get unbearable for them very soon.

Thanks everyone -- have a great week!
A permanent Southtown Dog run is planned to be built just south of 480 Main Street in Blackwell Park.