The cost of canine comfort: Why a Marine Park dog run would have such a high pricetag

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This thing is doggone expensive!

A dog run may seem like little more than a fence around a patch of gravel, not a major project justifying the $700,000 price tag quoted to locals asking the city to put one in Marine Park. But the Parks Department says building one is a complicated endeavor requiring excavation, plumbing installation, and other work.

“While they may seem simple to build, dog runs actually require a number of more complex features that contribute to the cost and timeframe, including drainage, water service, sanitation measures, subsurface and more,” said a department spokeswoman.

A group of Marine Parkers renewed the call for a dog run in February, and the pooch park boosters are now waiting for the Marine Park Civic Association to decide whether it will take the issue up with Community Board 18 and the city. The Parks Department has said a dog run in Marine Park could cost as much as $700,000.

Building a dog run costs so much in part because of what typically happens on a dog walk. A lot of work needs to be done to prevent the soil from getting contaminated by all the urine, according to the local councilman.

“The ground has to be prepared,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D-Marine Park). “You have a lot of urine and have to provide adequate drainage.”

Below the layer of gravel we all see, dog runs usually require several different layers of material to protect the soil from the dogs’ natural processes.

“You can’t have 50 dogs and not expect to contaminate the soil,” he said.

A typical dog run also includes amenities such as drinking fountains for the dogs, benches for their people, garbage cans, paved walkways, and hoses to help the dogs cool off in the summer. It also might be necessary to conduct an assessment of trees and other environmental factors at the site before construction can start, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman, all of which ratchets up the final cost.

The price tag still seems high to some supporters of a dog run in Marine Park, though.

“It seems like an awful lot to me,” said Rudy Costa of the Marine Park Civic Association, who has been visiting other dog parks in the borough at the civic’s request.

He said that some he’s seen look pretty simple, and can’t see them costing nearly a million dollars.

“I’ve been to a couple dog runs. It doesn’t look like a lot of money to invest,” he said, citing the Manhattan Beach dog run as an example.

At the same time, he conceded that his research suggests that the cost of the necessary infrastructure can easily be in the hundreds of thousands.

“From what I’ve read, it’s supposed to cost that much,” he said. “You have new dirt, fences, plumbing.”

Maisel said he takes the city at its word on the high price tag.

“This is the figure we’ve heard for a while,” said Maisel on the Parks Department’s estimate. “I’m sure they’re not misleading us.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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