Wash. Sq. small dog run will be done soon

By Aline Reynolds

A new-and-improved dog run for small dogs will be open in Washington Square Park as soon as mid-May as part of the Parks Department’s second phase of renovations to the historic park.

The run will be for dogs of all breeds that weigh 25 pounds or less, such as Kona, Dave Lawrence’s 6-year-old Shiba Inu, who he brings to the park daily.

“It’s been a long wait, but it will have been worth it,” said Lawrence, who has maintained the park’s existing small dog run since its creation in 2004.

The revamped small dog run will have new benches and a drainage system to funnel rainwater to the sewer. It will also have a water dispenser for dogs to drink from. One of the park’s original trees is being planted in the center of the space.

Lawrence said the new run is “a thousand percent improvement” from the old one, which will stay open until the new run is completed.

“The run is constantly used all year-round, especially in spring, summer and fall,” he said.  “It’s going to be very nice.”

There will be one entrance to the run from inside the park.

“I was happy to see that, for the safety of our dogs,” said Lawrence. “One dog hit by a car is one too many.”

The new run, which will be larger than its predecessor, is estimated to cost between $60,000 and $90,000.

The New York Council of Dog Owner Groups will be funding maintenance of the facility from now on, according to Lawrence, who has invested about $5,000 from his own pocket for the run over the years.

Lawrence has raised close to $1,800 so far for the upkeep of the new dog run.

“We’ll look at it, and see if it needs something improved or fixed,” he said.

The larger dog run will be built during the third phase of the park’s reconstruction, expected to begin in the fall, according to a Parks spokesperson. The existing big dog run will remain open while the new one is being created, the spokesperson said. While the new big dog run will be open 24 hours, the small dog run will not, the spokesperson said, adding this decision was based on what Parks was hearing the community wanted.