NYC spends a whopping $1.8 million on Queens dog walkers

This project has gone to the dogs.

A beach dog walk under construction in the Rockaways is expected to cost taxpayers a hell of a fortune — and at nearly $2 million, it could be the most expensive taxpayer-funded project of its kind in New York City history.

“It’s wonderful that a new dog run is being built, but it’s outrageous to spend so much money,” said Geoffrey Croft, a longtime city parks watchdog, referring to the $1.83 million project being built for Shore Front Parkway near Beach 90 is plannedth Street in Queens.

The 10,500-square-foot doggy play area will be built on a previously undeveloped stretch of Rockaways Beach and will provide separate areas to accommodate both large and smaller dogs.

The City Parks Department’s project won’t feature gold-plated fire hydrants or water bowls, but it will feature amenities fit for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel — including shaded bench areas, a dozen “agility” machines, a drinking fountain, and a solar-powered USB system -Charging stations, officials said.

Typically, the Parks Department’s dog-walked projects have cost about $700,000 to $1 million in recent years, city officials said.

Dog run Queens
The 10,500 square foot doggy playground will be built on a previously undeveloped stretch of Rockaways Beach.
JC Reis

The agency’s most recent dog construction includes a 4,100-square-foot dog run at Devoe Park in the Bronx last November that cost $796,000.

Earlier this month, Parks hired Queens-based St. John’s Enterprises — the same contractor that built the dog run at the Rockaways — to construct a 4,800-square-foot doggie play area at St. James Park in the Bronx for $579,786.

The Parks Department would not immediately confirm whether the Rockaways dog run is the most expensive in the agency’s history.

Instead, officials insisted it was an unfair comparison because the cost includes building a 34,000-square-foot section of the boardwalk — which will encompass what will become the future pooch’s paradise — to provide new sidewalks, water supplies and other features.

Dog run Queens
The park is planned for the Shore Front Parkway near Beach 90th Street in Queens.
JC Reis

The Shore Front Parkway Dog Run project has been in the works since 2018, but construction was pushed back to last September due to the pandemic and other factors. The park administration expects it to be completed by the end of the summer.

Councilwoman Joann Ariola, a Queens Republican whose district will include the new dog walk, called the project the latest example of the Big Apple paying more to build capital than most other cities.

“This is not a good use of taxpayers’ money,” Ariola said. “We need more control over capital generation.”

Queen's dog run
Typically, the Parks Department’s dog-walked projects have cost anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million in recent years.

She said new legislation introduced Thursday by Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) that requires city officials to be more transparent about how they spend taxpayers’ money on construction projects needs approval — specifically, a bill she would co-sponsor with creating a 15-person task force to reform the city’s capital construction system.

“The Shore Front Parkway Dog Run, which opens this summer to the delight of puppies and pup owners across Rockaway, will be a huge new convenience for the peninsula,” said Parks spokesman Dan Kastanis. “It’s more than twice the size of a typical park facility and offers plenty of dog-friendly amenities for K-9s big and small.” NYC spends a whopping $1.8 million on Queens dog walkers


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