New Kensington dog run opens to the public

Kensington Dog Run opening ceremony
Dog owners lauded the new space, which is a result of years of community advocacy.
Paul Martinka/Prospect Park Alliance

Raise the woof!

Cooped up pups in Central Brooklyn finally have a place to run free, thanks to the newly opened 7,000-square-foot Kensington Dog Run at the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

“I think this dog park is amazing,” said Kensington resident Vivian Johnson, who was playing fetch with her French bulldog Lucy on Tuesday afternoon.

The new space — which opened on July 6 near Coney Island and Caton avenues — will serve as a green refuge to the quarantined residents of nearby neighborhoods like Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Ditmas Park, and Flatbush, where about 20,000 canines reside, according to 2015 Department of Health statistics.

Johnson said she and Lucy particularly enjoyed the added bonus of fresh water available at the run’s dog-accommodating water fountains.

“It’s wonderful to have water on tap,” she said as Lucy lapped up cold water from the built-in bowl. “You don’t see that very often.”

Pups can stay hydrated during the dog days of summer thanks to dog-friendly water fountains.Paul Martinka/Prospect Park Alliance

The dog run was funded by the city’s participatory budgeting program, where locals vote directly on projects they’d like funded through their local City Council office. 

Residents of Councilman Mathieu Eugene’s 40th District voted for the project, which also received additional funding from Councilman Brad Lander’s District 39, Brooklyn Borough Hall, and local dog-loving groups Kensington Dog Run Association and FIDO Brooklyn.

The additional funds helped foot the total cost of the project, which reached $405,000 by the time of its completion, according to the Prospect Park Alliance — the non-profit group that designed the dog run, and managed its construction.

“The Kensington dog run is the result of several years of advocacy by our neighbors,” said Salvatore Garro, president of the Kensington Dog Run Association, which spearheaded the effort. “This park encapsulates community and will forever be an example of what civic engagement can achieve.”

The park comes equipped with state-of-the-art dog run technology — including the first canine-friendly astroturf in any New York City dog run, which boasts superior drainage thanks to a porous backing which allows both water and dog waste to flow through the material. Also in the turf is an antimicrobial agent that keeps it from reeking.

Dogs of all sizes can play safely in the two sections of the park.Paul Martinka/Prospect Park Alliance

Some fuzzy Brooklynites are refraining from utilizing the turf as a bathroom altogether, like Lucy the French bulldog, who prefers to do her business in the natural tree pit next to the park’s entrance, according to Johnson.  

The park also has eco-friendly benches made of reclaimed wood from fallen trees in Brooklyn’s Backyard, a separate fenced off area for smaller pups, and so-called “dog-waste resistant” shrubs. 

“It’s a win for the community, and a win for the dogs too!” Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner Martin Maher said in a statement. “Pups deserve open space, and now more than ever, it is a joy to celebrate a new space for our dogs to run, play, and do their business too.”