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MidVill dog run in limbo

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Efforts by some Middle Village residents to get a dog run in Juniper Valley Park have been met by some good and some not-so-good news.

Community Board 5 has formed a subcommittee of its Parks Committee to deal with the issue, which has brought dog owners up to make public comments at meetings for nearly a year. But word from the Parks Department is that there are no funds for constructing such a park.

“Parks has no money for it,” said CB 5 member Kathy Masi. “It’s not good news for everyone concerned, but it is truthful news.

Masi said she recently toured the Little Bay dog run in Manhattan, which was offered as an example of what a Parks Department-constructed dog run could look like. She said the price tag on such a park was $750,000, which she did not think was realistic.

“In today’s economic times, I just don’t see where these numbers make any sense,” she said.

The Parks Department declined to go into detail about any cost estimates.

“We’ll work with the community board as they review the proposal,” a spokeswoman said.

CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri said providing proper drainage, water facilities and an asphalt base underneath the hard surface of the park contributed to Little Bay’s $750,000 price tag.

In the meantime, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) is eyeing a patch of land near the intersection of Eliot and Lutheran avenues along the Long Island Rail Road as a possible alternative spot for the dog run. The Juniper Park proposal has met with some resistance from some Middle Village residents who complain dogs would make too much noise and would damage the park.

Masi said Crowley believed she could provide $400,000 to rehabilitate the land, but was only willing to go forward with it if the different factions could agree on it.

Joseph Pisano, president of the Juniper Valley Park Dog Owners Association, was not overly optimistic, noting some female dog owners are worried about the more remote location of the LIRR property and others did not want to walk their dogs that far.

“I told them I’m open to it, I’m willing to look wherever you want,” he said, noting he was happy Masi was heading the new CB 5 subcommittee. “But I’m telling you right now, the people in my association, they want it in Juniper.”

Pisano also balked at the $400,000 price tag of the project, noting the Parks Department estimated the rehabilitated fence Pisano’s group wants to install in Juniper Valley Park as a tentative dog run would cost $60,000.

“I said, ‘Councilwoman, give me $60,000 of that $400,000, put a fence up over here where we want it, we’ll be happy.’ I keep asking for a little, they keep trying to give me a lot.”

The newly formed Dog Park Subcommittee will meet for the first time Sept. 21 at Grover Cleveland Park.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 7:08 pm, September 14, 2011
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