Dear Concerned Neighbor:
I am writing to you today to talk about a issue near and dear to the hearts of many in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Brower Park is home to our beloved "off-leash" dog run mornings before 9 AM. Imminent plans for construction to the center play-field of Brower Park threatens this rule. We understand that the park needs rehabilitation, however preservation of the off-leash dog rule after construction is our primary concern.
We treat our dogs like family and take great care to the grounds as we consider it an extension of our homes. Playing on the lawn is the healthiest way for them to expend energy and learn vital socialization skills. We do not consider this function an occasional benefit; dogs require daily activity all year round. Brower Park has the only local public green space in our urban area and also shared by yeshiva, soccer players, and family parties, amongst others.
We acknowledge several problems need fixing. Two poorly-drained path areas have created impasses lasting sometimes weeks after rainfall. This standing brackish water has made some animals sick. There is a bare patch in the center lawn. Prospect Park has higher foot traffic and has been able to keep their lawns green due to vigilant watering and aeration practices. The Parks Department does a great job in the initial planting and mulching, however without proper maintenance, failures will be repeated as was the case in 2013. In another example, one of the "Million Trees" planted this Spring died despite proper fencing because of inadequate watering during a heatwave.
Brower lawn should not mimic the Great Lawn's sunbathers of Central Park. Eliminating the off-leash dog rule would be tantamount to forcing a change to the fabric of the Crown Heights' community. Brower Park has already been de-listed from the nycgovparks.org website as an off-leash site. This is unsettling as there has been no debate or official notice.
The dogs are not to blame. We are in favor of a plan to TEMPORARILY warden off the grassy grounds for seeding, however we are strongly against any plan that bans the off-leash rule. We advocate for the installation of permanent watering systems and regular aeration protocols from Parks crews. This smart solution will ensure recreation and plant recovery.