Barking mad over fountain

The Brooklyn Paper
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Fort Greene dog owners have had it up to their snouts with the Parks Department, which has failed to deliver a new doggie water fountain to Fort Greene Park, even though the funding for it was allocated three years ago.

“I understand it’s a little thing,” said Nancy Peterson, the president of Fort Greene Park Users and Pets Society [PUPS], the organization of more than 300 dog-owners that lobbied Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) for the $5,000 allocation. “But you know what? Other parks have gotten it done.”

The Parks Department confirmed that Hillside Park in Brooklyn Heights already has two fountains that can accommodate both dogs and humans, just like the fountain that was slated for Fort Greene Park.

In the meantime, the PUPS and their puppies have had to make do with the existing doggie fountain in Fort Greene Park, a three-foot-tall green cube with a spigot attached that empties water into a drain-less metal basin. Dogs end up drinking the water that pools there, and which often gets mixed with mud and sticks.

“When it’s hot out, it gets really nasty,” said Amy Hecht, another PUPS member, as she walked her dogs Diego and Carly in the park on a Thursday morning.

About 50 other dogs and owners were also stretching their legs in the park. Many ended up at the aforementioned water fountain, where owners had their hands full shooing their dogs away from the pool of fetid water and towards the spigot spewing fresh water.

The Parks Department acknowledges that it has taken a bit longer than normal to spend the funds for the new fountain.

“It usually does not take such a long time, and we are now trying to expedite the process and make up for lost time,” said Phil Abramson, an agency spokesman.

Abramson chalked up the delays to bureaucracy.

“The installation of a new fountain with drainage is a larger project than is done in-house, hence the need for a contractor,” he explained. “But $5,000 is too small of a job to have its own contract so we’re combining it with improvements to the park’s basketball courts. It is currently out to bid and we hope to have a contractor in place so work can begin in the fall.”

But Peterson, the PUPS president, wasn’t buying it.

“I understand bureaucracy, but this is ridiculous,” she said. “Just someone hook up the fountain, put in a drainage field, and let’s move on.”

Updated 4:31 pm, July 9, 2018
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