From: Riverside Puppy Brigade, Hamilton Heights Community Organization.
Date: July 30, 2015
Goal: To amend the current construction plans for the Riverside Park Footpath at 151 Street and Riverside Drive to incorporate a community dog run.
The New York State Department of Transportation is constructing a pedestrian footpath from 151st Street and Riverside Drive to the Riverside Park. While the project will increase accessibility, the construction will destroy a vital natural habitat and deny our community a great benefit: a common space for dogs and people.
Three years ago, a group of Hamilton Heights residents transformed a small, neglected patch of dirt below the aqueduct rotunda at 151st Street into a community dog run. Once filthy and overgrown, we cleaned the debris and broken glass, fenced the roots of the mature mulberry tree and laid wood chips. We communally lent a hand until we built a neighborhood dog run. This community-built location was a place for exercise, socialization, and the enjoyment of a clean, green space. But even more than that, it is a locality where individuals from all walks of life congregate.
This area, untouched since the park was severed in two in the mid-sixties to build the West Side Highway, is now replete with 150 year-old trees as well as rookeries for various types of birds. The dog run has not only served the community, but also protected the robust ecosystem in place.
Our intent is to provide for our community and to further the New York City Parks’ mission to target more equitable distribution of resources. We are petitioning to amend the current construction plans for the 151st street footpath to include an official dog run. While we acknowledge that construction has begun, we submit that the current location of our park can meet the needs of all stakeholders: all access to the Riverside Park, preservation of the environment, and a safe place for dogs and people to socialize.
Our community of dog owners is now 500-plus strong and growing quickly. As taxpayers, voters, and active inhabitants, we are committed to improving our community together, with all the tools a healthy democracy affords. We have already demonstrated our willingness to maintain a park through voluntary funding and dedication. This established commitment would continue when a dog run inhabits the plans for construction.
Upper Riverside Park Dog Run Petition
Please sign this petition; a community dog run will send a message to Hamilton Heights that we are worth investing in. It will provide sustainable and safe community development. Working with us can redress the situation and ultimately result in improved outcomes for our neighborhood and for the City of New York
PDF Link to Petition Page: Petition