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.”
In an article titled, “Metro puts up for sale developable Columbia Heights parcel that hosts unofficial dog park,” DC Curbed writes: “A nonprofit civic organization called 11th and Bark is petitioning for D.C. to bid for the land so that it can save and spruce up the dog park.”
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.
Olympian Gus Kenworthy just rescued a new pup named Birdie. The Humane Society International saved Birdie after she was born on a meat farm in South Korea, and then Gus came to DC to adopt her from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. What was one of their very first stops after she was adopted? That’s right—the Columbia Heights Dog Park! Thank you Gus for saving dogs and for your dedication to making others aware of the cause.
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.
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.
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?'”