Advocacy Update

There's a for sale sign at the dog park, but we can still save it.


As you likely know, the Columbia Heights Dog Park sits on property owned by WMATA, which has allowed us to use the space for our dog park since 2009. In the last few years, WMATA has shown interest in selling the property. Knowing this, the community urged the District of Columbia Council to purchase the land. More than 1,500 District residents (both those with and without dogs) signed a petition, local businesses submitted letters, and our ANC representatives passed a resolution in favor of saving such green spaces in our neighborhood. The Council heard us and allocated money in the FY2019 budget to buy the land.

Now, WMATA has officially listed the property for sale and is accepting bids, which are due the end of February. That is why the for sale sign suddenly appeared in the park.

The District did make an offer to buy the land, but WMATA rejected it. The fight to save the park, however, isn't over. We now need Mayor Bowser to make a fair market value offer on the property.

On Wednesday, January 9, ANC1A adopted a resolution, introduced by Commissioner Angelica Castañon (1A06), to show support for the mayor making a fair market value offer.

Now it’s your turn. Please take a moment to ask the mayor to make this offer.

We Did It! The Council Allocated Funds to Save the Park

Thanks to the overwhelming support for the dog park, the Council has allocated funds to save it. The FY2019 budget includes $1.5 million to purchase the Columbia Heights Dog Park from WMATA. The Council's final vote on the budget was May 29, 2018. The budget is now on the mayor's desk, awaiting her signature.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau supported our efforts to obtain funding for the park. 

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau supported our efforts to obtain funding for the park. 

Members of the Council deserve our thanks. You can send them an email to thank them here

Next, the District and WMATA will have to negotiate the sale of the property, and dog park supporters need to start raising money to share the costs of improving the park. You can donate to our efforts to improve the park here



Our Efforts to Save the Park Made the Washington Post

washington post columbia heights dog park

On May 14, The Washington Post highlighted our efforts to save the dog park on the front page of the Metro section. Dog park regular Kaitlyn Love explained to the Post that she is concerned the DC Council will fail to allocate funds to buy that park and then "we’ll lose this community — because that’s really what it is, a community.” "

The article also asked the candidates in the Ward 1 Council race about the park. According to the article:

  • Councilmember "[Brianne] Nadeau has spent months lobbying for $1.5 million in the council’s 2019 spending bill that would allow the city to buy the land. Should that fail, she said, the mayor might still be able to reallocate money to buy the park if it were for sale."

"'My sense is that we don’t need to panic just yet,' Nadeau said. 'There’s still other possibilities. But gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we could just get this done?'”

  • Ward 1 Candidate, "Jamie Sycamore, a dog owner, said Nadeau’s proposal falls short of what he believes the community needs: He would propose setting aside $3 million for the park."

"'That safety net is to make sure there’s enough money to be invested in everything that needs to get done,' said Sycamore, whose dog, Rory, has visited the park. 'If you want to show you’re really invested in the community, invest in the community. Pick up a shovel. Show you care.'”

  • "Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kent C. Boese, said that $1.5 million might be too much. The city, he said, should take stock of its public land and get more input before determining if the park’s location is its best option."

"'If we are using public funds for the property, we should have a bigger conversation . . . rather than funneling money toward a predetermined outcome,' he said. 'Maybe it is the best site for a dog park. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, how can we know that unless we’re exploring all of our options?'”

Community Meeting Held On January 31

Last night members of the community gathered to learn information about the status of the dog park and what we need to do next. Representatives from 11th and Bark and Green Spaces for DC spoke, as well as Patrick Flynn of Patrick's Pet Care, Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, and ANC Commissioners Angelica Castañon and Kent Bose. 

You can find the advocacy sheet distributed at the meeting, here.

To learn about future meetings and activities, join our email list