By Carol Tannenhauser
The long-awaited renovation of Bull Moose Dog Run, located in Theodore Roosevelt Park next to the Museum of Natural History, is imminent, according to Elaine Boxer, a community activist who has been working for years to move the process forward. Boxer got the news in a phone call last week with Steve Simon, Manhattan chief of staff for the New York City Parks Department.
“Come spring, chances are the dog run will be under construction,” Simon said.
It’s been six years since Gale Brewer, then a City Council member, allocated $250,000 to fix Bull Moose Dog Run, which was — and still is — in disrepair. As a result of poor drainage, lakes not puddles follow rainstorms, to the delight of the dogs and dismay of those who must bathe them. After two subsequent cost increases — met by additional funds from Brewer and current Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal — Simon told Boxer that “things actually look pretty good. We just have to come up with another $133,000,” he said.
That would bring the total cost of the project to more than $650,000, Boxer estimated.
“We’re fairly confident we can find it,” Simon assured her, according to Boxer.
“The plan has nice features,” Boxer said, “such as new benches, a new water fountain with a doggy-height spout and dish, an ADA-compliant entrance, a better located small-dog area, and outer boundaries pulled in to return two trees to the greater Theodore Roosevelt Park.
“All of that is GREAT,” she acknowledged. “But the community started with, and still has, two basic needs: repair the broken drainage system and regrade/replace the eroded surface. So, if anyone were to complain about dog owners sucking up city resources for our precious dog run project — the cost of this ain’t coming from us. All we want is not to have our dogs wading through poop soup every time it rains, getting filthy and sick, and we’d have been thrilled if this simple goal could have been accomplished with Gale’s $250k appropriation six years ago. BUT, we’re all 100% behind this project now because this is the only way our simple goal has any chance of being accomplished in any reasonable time frame. Any revisions or controversy could set us back to square one, and I think we’d lose our minds if that happened.”
You can see the plans for the new Bull Moose Dog Run here. Construction is expected to take eight months to a year. The dog run, which occupies about a quarter of an acre of Theodore Roosevelt Park, is unrelated to the Gilder Center, the science education center being built by the Museum around the corner.
We are awaiting a statement from the Parks Department and will update this post when we receive it.