Jackson Heights’ first public dog park opens


QUEENS, NY — The cut of a red ribbon marked the grand opening of the first public dog park in Jackson Heights Thursday.

It comes after a surge of dog ownership in the neighborhood, according to officials.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy our wonderful greenspaces — those on two legs and four legs alike,” Queens Parks Commissioner Michael Dockett said in a release.

Dockett and City Council member Shekar Krishnan unveiled the dog run, which is located within a handball court of Travers Park.

The dog run is the first in the neighborhood to be open to the public free of charge. It includes a storage locker, “mutt mitt” bag dispenser and water supply.

A gated dog park currently exists on 69th Street between 35th Avenue and 34th Avenue, for members only.

“Together as a community, we did this for our community,” Krishnan said at the public event. “A dog run is a space that brings us together, that rejuvenates us, and having it right here in Travers Park, the iconic park in our neighborhood, our only park in our neighborhood.”

According to a press release, the space designated for dog owners and their pups will operate as a pilot program for the first year. If the dog run is a success, the release says it will be made permanent.

Antonio Adorno, founder of the Jackson Heights Dog Lovers and owner to his canine, “Smokey,” said his group had been advocating for a designated dog area within the park after many residents became owners during COVID-19.

He said it was a process that took two years to accomplish, but he is proud that his blueprints for creating the handball court into a space for dogs were taken into consideration by the city.

Prior to its opening, dog owners that unleashed their dogs in the handball court were being fined up to $100, he said.

“We’re excited for it to finally happen,” he said. “It means something for our dogs to do. Our dogs were only restricted to walking on the median, and some people found that annoying. A lot of other major communities had a dog park, and we didn’t.”

The space will be operated and maintained by the city’s parks department and local volunteers, the press release said.

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