Terry Sullivan, the president of Juniper Park Dog Owners Association, said the group remains committed to establishing an enclosed space for dogs to run off leash in the center of the park, despite a contentious Community Board Five (CB5) meeting on the issue in late April that left its future in doubt.
At the meeting, CB5's Parks Committee suggested two alternative sites that Sullivan and other association members rejected as inadequate. Sullivan said if it came down to it the dog run advocates might prefer to choose to keep the status quo over the proposed alternative locations.
Parks Committee Chair Steve Fiedler declined to comment for this story.
Dog owners are fighting for a space between the upper and lower ball fields they contend is the farthest point away from the homes surrounding the park. Sullivan said the spot is between 300 and 400 feet from neighborhood homes, eliminating noise issues for residents in the neighborhood.
According to Sullivan, the committee is considering two alternatives sites: one, on a plot of land behind the park office much closer to neighborhood homes; and the other, on a too-narrow strip behind a bank of bleachers.
"They're trying to put us as far in the corner as they can possibly get us," Sullivan said. She said the dog association, which numbers over 150 members and their pets, needs more room.
"There's too many dogs that are going to be coming to the area for it to be a small dog park," Sullivan said.
CB5 District Manager Gary Giordano said he is not sure the central location is the best place for the dog run because it might be too close to the park's ballfields.
"I'm personally not comfortable with the current [proposed] location," said Giordano.
Giordano said the Parks Committee is in the early stages of making a ruling on the issue, and expressed confidence an agreement can be reached.
"In my opinion, it is not that difficult to locate a good site in Juniper Park for a permanent dog run," he said.
Sullivan said the association plans to continue pressing for a dog run suitable to its needs, one that would prove successful and become a permanent fixture at the park.
"We want something that's going to be in for the long term and that's going to be a jewel for the park," Sullivan said. "The dog people are not going to go away. We're going to keep insisting on a resolution for this."