The New York Park Authority has closed Warren Street Dog Park in the Tribeca neighborhood to prevent a local group from turning it into a members-only dog run. For the past decade, a group of dog owners who formed a nonprofit, Tribeca Dog Owners, have privately maintained the park and collected membership fees. But much to the surprise of many dog owners in the neighborhood, the dog run was technically a public park! Tribeca dog owners (the group that broke up since the city took control of the park) have maintained dog running since 2008, putting in place strict rules and behavioral guidelines to keep the park safe for dogs (such as no children or guests) to keep.
In a neighborhood publication, Tribeca Citizen, Tribeca dog owners justified their decision to privately manage the park:
“For more than a decade, the park has been fully insured, cleaned, repaired, equipped and maintained by our community group without the park department having made any financial or other contribution. The result is a park that is electricity washed three times a week, is exceptionally clean and is a model for others. The cost of this has always been 100% paid for by the community the park serves and has been achieved through a nominal membership fee of USD 10 / month. “
The Warren Street dog park also had pools for the dogs as well as benches for the owners, all of which were forced by the park department to remove after the lock was cut open as they were not officially issued by the park department. It is currently unclear how the park department will maintain the facilities in the park.
I have great concern that a public park has been closed to the general public for the past decade, especially how difficult it is to find a place for dogs to play here in NYC. However, I fully understand the desire for better cleaned, managed, and well-maintained dog playgrounds. It would be nice if a compromise had been reached where community members who could donate could specifically help maintain this park and keep unsafe dogs out while somehow keeping the dog open to the public regardless of solvency.