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Dog gone! Board barks over BID’s beg for puppy run

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Downtown is going to have to wait to get a dog run.

Community Board 2 on Monday all but shot down a new proposal to build a pooch pen somewhere in the booming residential neighborhood — in part because the area already has a few open spaces, but also because all those new Downtown residents need to wait their turn.

“Boerum Hill has been waiting for a dog run for more than 20 years,” said Parks Committee member Mary Goodman, a longtime dog advocate. “Why do we have to cater to all the new people and their dogs coming in?”

The Metrotech Business Improvement District had proposed four sites for the dog run, arguing that the influx of new residents and residential towers is already translating into more dogs. Michael Weiss, the BID’s executive director, said that the number of families within his 20-block district has grown from about 10 to 1,500 in just three years.

Plus, most of the luxury condo towers popping up in the area — the Brooklyner, Avalon Bay, and Toren among them, each with more than 250 units — don’t have quarters to let a dog roam. Some of those condos, like the BellTell Lofts on Bridge Street, already have more than 40 dogs living alongside their human pets.

“We feel a responsibility for the residents coming to this area — they’re looking for services,” Weiss said. “This area doesn’t have a lot of open space.”

But board members didn’t want the new dogs encroaching on existing parks, all of which are highly sought after for their space and development potential. One of the proposed spots, in McLaughlin Park at Jay and Tillary streets, has space that’s “already spoken for” by other groups, one board member said.

And Goodman said that another location is already spoken for by the Parks Department.

The board didn’t vote on the proposal — the meeting was an “ideas session” — but members had few good things to say about the BID’s suggestions. Then again, members didn’t reject a tiny triangular patch of land at Myrtle and Flatbush avenues. But Weiss said that dog walkers are already calling that site too small.

The board also argued that there are already off-leash hours and dog runs in and around Downtown, like the cordoned-off section of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, Hillside Dog Park on Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights, and the off-leash hours at Cadman Plaza Park. All three of those areas, however, are far from the new Downtown Gold Coast along Flatbush Avenue Extension.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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