State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced on Tuesday that the long-awaited renovations to the Vernon Boulevard dog run in Long Island City have begun.
The elected officials, along with Queens West Development Corp., the state Parks Department and DOG LIC, a local advocacy group, have worked together since last year to make major improvements to the site.
“I look forward to seeing western Queens residents and their pets taking advantage of all this new dog run will offer,” said Gianaris (D-Astoria).
When the area opens at the corner of 48th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard in approximately two weeks, visitors will notice that it is more than twice the size of the old park, jumping from 4,000 to 10,000 square feet.
The location will have a new, more dog-friendly gravel surface and drinking fountains for both dogs and their owners.
Additionally, there will be separate, fenced-off areas for large and small dogs, new lighting, new covered trash cans and railings to protect existing trees from dogs. New shade structures are expected to be added by mid-October.
“This is great news as both a dog owner and new resident of Long Island City,” said Kelly McDowell, who just moved there from Nebraska. “I was concerned that my dog wouldn’t have as much open space as back home, but this new park eases my mind.”
LIC is one of the fastest growing communities in the city, and as more people move to the area, so do more dogs. The decision to construct the new dog run was “a no-brainer,” said Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
“This new dog run will provide a much needed service for the many dog owners in the growing and vibrant neighborhood of LIC,” he said.
Rachel Gordon of the state Parks Department said that there was a “great partnership” between dog owners, organizations like DOG LIC and elected officials.
“We are really delighted that this is able to happen,” Gordon said.
The run will cost an estimated $150,000 and will be funded by Queens West. Paul Januszewski said his company is proud to be involved with the project.
“Our hope is that this is more than a safe and well-maintained recreational space for dogs, but also a community meeting place,” Januszewski said.
DOG LIC has over 400 members and co-founder Perrin Salat said that the partnership between elected officials and the other groups show that “there is a commitment to make [LIC] a very dog-friendly place.” He said he thinks the new park is a “cornerstone of the community.”
After thanking the elected officials, Queens West and members of the community, Van Bramer jokingly had one other group he wanted to mention.
“Thank you to all the dogs for their advocacy, their letters, their phone calls and emails. It’s a victory for LIC.”