In May, WMATA wrote to the District to announce it was ending the auction to sell the park and would instead negotiate with the District. The letter specified that WMATA expected to close on the sale of the property possibly by the end of August, and no later than December 31, 2019. September is here and we have no news on the purchase, other than hearing it is moving along. Today, therefore, the 11th and Bark Board sent a letter to the Mayor inquiring about any progress in the sale. We will let you know if we find out any additional information.
WMATA is now pulling the 11th and Park Road property off the market and is giving the city an opportunity to buy it.
In a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser dated May 21, 2019, WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said WMATA will send a draft purchase agreement to the city by May 31.
We are cautiously optimistic that the sale will go through, and the District will be able to save this highly valued park, in a neighborhood that is already lacking in community green space. The whole process would still take months.
We'll be in touch with updates and next steps. For now, you can thank Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and Mayor Muriel Bowser for their work and attention to this issue. And thank you for helping to make this happen through your emails, petition signatures and more.
As you all know, WMATA, which owns the land at 1100 Park Rd NW, officially put the property up for sale this winter and bids were due in February. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau worked to get $1.5 million in the budget to purchase the property but WMATA rejected it. The Mayor offered additiona money, but WMATA rejected it again. Now, we have heard that WMATA has now accepted a bid from a developer that, so far as we know, is not planning to put a dog park of any size on the property.
The timeline is unclear, but we know we now need to find a new spot for our park. We need the support of our Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and our Council members. We must let them know how important having a dog park is to us.
To find out the two things you can do now to help get a new spot for the dog park, go check out our take action page.
We scheduled our quarterly cleanup to coincide with the Mayor’s citywide Spring Cleanup. Several volunteers helped clean the inside of the park as well the streets adjacent to the park. Thanks to everyone for their help.
We teamed up with the Community Wellness Alliance Collaborative, the North Columbia Heights Civic Association, Encounter Church, and Viva the Life to host the 2019 Mardi Paws. The March 9th event included a dog costume contest, prizes, and giveaways. We also collected donations for the Humane Rescue Alliance.
A fun time was had by all!
Bids to purchase the dog park property were due on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 and WMATA is now reviewing them. Among the bids are two that could save the park.
First, one bid is from the District, which has promised to preserve the entire park. This bid meets WMATA’s requirement to sell the land for its fair market value—indeed, WMATA itself set $2.1 million as the fair market value—and would meet the community’s need for a full-sized dog park. We have urged WMATA to choose this bid, and if it does, we will move forward in improving our park.
A second bid, by Outlier Capital Realty, includes a plan to build housing as well as a community dog park of about 4,000 square feet in size. The design would provide housing, retail and an important community green space: a public dog park. Outlier's design calls for a concrete podium 15 feet above the ground, with most of the park underneath that podium. We asked WMATA to select the Outlier bid if they reject the District’s bid so that we can ensure we will have a dog park on the property.
Of course, WMATA might also accept another bid entirely.
You, like us, probably have a lot of questions about what the Outlier plan’s dog park would look like if their bid is accepted. While their plan is at its beginning stages, here are the answers we have so far:
Would the dog park be for residents who live in the community or just people who live in the building? The dog park would be a community dog park open to the public.
Would there be running water and trash cans (for dog poop)? Yes. Outlier has promised to work with us to create the amenities in the park that we want.
Who would maintain the park? Outlier would maintain ownership, but they'd like to have a partnership with 11th and Bark, the District, or both. With the current District dog parks, neighborhood groups are tasked with some of the maintenance of those parks, so it wouldn't be unusual for the nonprofit to take on some maintenance.
How does it work to have a dog park under a building? It could be the first of its kind. But Outlier recognizes that the area will need lighting and ventilation. Also, at least a section of the park would be open to the sky.
What would the surface be? We don’t know yet. If they win the bid, they promised they will work with us to figure out what surface works best.
Outlier has offered to spend some time at the park, answering questions about the design. Please email us and let us know if you would be interested in that.
What can you do? Contact WMATA. Ask that it select the District's bid, and if not, to at least select the bid that saves most of this valued community space.
Email WMATA: firstname.lastname@example.org Nina Albert, director of the Office of Real Estate & Station Planning
Tweet at WMATA: @wmata
Biznow’s Jon Banister writes Dog Owners Face Off With Developers In Push To Preserve Park Space. The piece quotes NoMa BID President Robin- Eve Jasper who said: "I feel like some of the folks who are saying you can have affordable housing or dog parks and you have to choose between them, it's juts a false dichotomy.” She continued by explaining “You have to have a healthy neighborhood with many assets and components to that neighborhood. The idea you wouldn’t have space for people to come together and that you don't need those spaces is silly."
On February 5th, the Washington Post wrote: D.C. bid $2.1 million for a plot of dirt used as a dog park. It might not be enough. They quote 11th and Bark’s Lori Robertson:
“People who value the park value it because they get to meet their neighbors there,” said Lori Robertson, who helps run 11th and Bark, a group organized by regulars to advocate for the park. “I know it’s a dog park, but it’s really about the people who bring their dogs there, and allowing them to have a space where they can build community — that’s what we really don’t want to lose.”