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COURIER L 22 IFE, AUGUST 6-12, 2021
Greenwood Heights dog owners
pitch in to improve local dog park
BY JESSICA PARKS
A cadre of canine owners in Greenwood
Heights are rolling up their
sleeves to help fi x their beloved local
dog park — raising thousands of dollars
to improve the stomping ground
for their furry friends.
“The dog park has been really important
to our community,” said Adam
Maynard, who spearheading the dog
park improvements with Evan Saucier,
“and if we want to keep it a safe
place for us and our dogs we have to
put the work in.”
The South Slope Dog Run on 18th
Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues
is prone to dust storms, fl ooding
from poor drainage and litter from the
excavation of the Prospect Expressway
in the mid-1900s, neighbors said, with
some worrying about the effects the dust
might have on their furry companions.
“I get nervous about bringing Okie
because there is dirt blowing in the
wind constantly,” said Laura Murray.
“I just know that is getting in her lungs
but I don’t have any other option.”
But the Fido-friendly space — which
was created in 2010 — is the only dog
park in the neighborhood, and, just
like many city dwellers, the local canine
corral served as a sanctuary for
them and their furry friends during
the pandemic, the volunteers said.
“We call it the Dust Bowl, and you
know it’s the only place nearby and
it’s such a dog-centric neighborhood,”
Murray said. “It’s New York City, we
live in tiny apartments and its very
important for our dogs to socialize”
Now, they’ve taken it upon themselves
to maintain the dog park, this
time raising $2,000 in just 24 hours to
buy topsoil to protect the trees, as well
as bark mulch later down the road. “I am
just really happy that people in the community
and dog owners were quick and
very generous to pitch in,” said Saucier.
Though some issues arose with the
bark mulch, which they said would
help solve the park’s drainage issue, a
group pitched in early Thursday, joined
by their doggos, to spread the soil and
even construct a makeshift gutter.
“We are working on getting mulch
or wood chips to cover the surface,
to keep the dust down,” Saucier said.
“The mulch and the topsoil will help
stop the pooling of water. We are also
going to have to make sure the water
is able to cascade down, so we jerry
rigged irrigation ditches.”
The new soil will help fortify the
run’s three remaining living trees,
which help provide the only shade in the
park, along with one dead tree which locals
have called on the city to cut down.
“We wanted to protect our existing
Volunteers’ canine companions, pictured
here R2, doggedly supervised the clean up.
Photo by Jessica Parks
trees,” Saucier said. “One is dead, and
we haven’t been able to get the city to
cut it down — and even then, replacing
it would be just a sapling, which
wouldn’t produce shade. We basically
need to protect the ones we have or we
are going to be out of luck.”
The crew of do-gooders said they
choose to do these little fi xes instead of
applying for an overhaul from the Parks
Department as they don’t want to see
the park closed for a year-plus due to the
infamously slow city bureaucracy.
“We don’t want to shut this down
while they make the improvements,”
said Adam Maynard, who spearheaded
the initiative, “so I feel like over time
we could do it, just projects over time
to maintain it.”
Mostly everything in the dog run
has been maintained, donated, or built
by caring dog owners who want to
make the brown space better for everyone,
especially for the neighborhood’s
“Everything that you see here, including
the picnic benches, was done
by volunteers,” Maynard said.
In addition to the bark mulch, the
group of volunteers plans to keep
working to enhance the dog run, and
have asked the city to work on planting
new trees and adding a waterline
for the dogs to have drinking water,
Maynard told Brooklyn Paper.
One neighbor lending a hand said
she thinks more people have taken notice
of the needs of their dog run after
the pandemic highlighted the importance
of it in the community.
“During COVID, this became a
really supportive, social spot,” said
Patty Onderko. “It was nice to have a
close-by place where everyone could
hang out and enjoy our dogs.”
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