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Participatory budget goes to the dogs

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It will soon be a dog’s life on the banks of the East River thanks to 729 ballot-casting Brooklynites.

A pup run in East River State Park was one of five projects voters endorsed in North Brooklyn in this year’s participatory budget process, an increasingly popular and refreshingly democratic initiative by some councilmembers to determine how to divvy up funding in their districts.

The dog run, which will cost $450,000, will be the only place in Williamburg south of McCarren Park where pet owner can legally let their pups run free, said Mark Sallinger, a committee member on the Friends of East River State Park, which proposed the pooch park.

“The number of dogs in Williamsburg has grown to 7,000, based on some estimates,” said Sallinger. “There’s a real need for a space for dogs to run around. It’s hard for people to walk 20 minutes to get to McCarren Park, and that dog run is small and always crowded.”

Dogs are usually never allowed in the East River State Park or in any other state park, but Sallinger said the state has agreed to make an exception for the dog run, which he hopes will open by the end of the year.

The office of Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg) will fund the five most popular projects, accounting for slightly more than $1 million, in an attempt to help constituents get involved in the political process.

“It’s a good thing whenever you can increase transparency and get the community involved in making decisions that affect their day-to-day lives,” said Levin.

In total, 2,632 civically-minded individuals cast votes for the top five projects, which also include:

• District-wide tree planting: $100,000

• Technology funds for MS 8: $200,000

• Technology funds for PS 31: $188,000

• Playground restoration and beautification for PS 34: $120,000

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Is Cooper Park not in Williamsburg or is it not south of McCarren?
April 10, 2013, 9:42 am
Sally from Boerum Hill says:
Out of a million dollars available for the whole district, almost half goes to the State to build a dog run in Williamsburg?
April 10, 2013, 11:54 am
Jackie from Williamsburg says:
Dear Sally,
Thank you for bringing this up. Please come visit us at the East River State Park, it is 7 acres of heaven, with incredible view of Manhattan.
Physically it is an abandoned old warehouse / train depot. Cracked cement and a rough and tumble landscape. Nothing as lush and wonderful as you have there in Prospect Park. Green space here is stunted and so we are trying to make the best with what we've got. Parks are for kids and adults. A luxury for all that we don't take for granted.
April 12, 2013, 10:26 am
Jackie from Williamsburg says:
Dear Sally,
Thank you for bringing this up. Please come visit us at the East River State Park, it is 7 acres of heaven, with incredible view of Manhattan.
Physically it is an abandoned old warehouse / train depot. Cracked cement and a rough and tumble landscape. Nothing as lush and wonderful as you have there in Prospect Park. Green space here is stunted and so we are trying to make the best with what we've got. Parks are for kids and adults. A luxury for all that we don't take for granted.
April 12, 2013, 10:26 am

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