Sunnyside dogs now have a place to run.
On June 22 the community celebrated the reopening of Lou Lodati Park after a $1.4 million renovation.
The construction added a dog run, improved asphalt sports courts and new plantings throughout the site, where only an asphalt plot sat.
The new dog run, which is adjacent to TorsneyPlayground, on Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street, has dedicated areas for large and small dogs — each with benches and dog drinking fountains.
“We’ve been waiting for this for years,” Billy Bell, who walks his dog Lucy, 7, at the park frequently, said last year.
Before the start of construction on Sept. 14, Bell and other dog owners would bring their four-legged friends to the paved sports courts to run around and socialize. The area was sometimes dangerous for the dogs, Bell said, because of glass and discarded chicken bones left behind from weekend barbecues. The pups now have grass.
“Great neighborhoods deserve great parks,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who allocated $700,000 towards the project. Borough President Helen Marshall contributed the other half.
The project broke ground last September. The dog run was also designed in consultation with the Sunnyside United Dog Society, an active community of dog owners that teamed with the councilman earlier this year to launch a campaign to remind neighbors to pick up after their pets.