Our Efforts to Save the Park Made the Washington Post

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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?'”

A Successful Earth Day Cleanup

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On Saturday, April 21, 11th and Bark held a cleanup at the park in conjunction with a neighborhood-wide cleanup, the Great CoHi Cleanup. In addition to picking up any debris in and around the park—including up and down Park Rd. and 11th St.—volunteers repainted the benches and table, and repaired the plastic meshing that keeps small dogs safely in the park. The biggest project of the day was creating a dry well to stop a standing water issue not-so-fondly referred to as "the pond." Thanks to everyone who spent their afternoon helping, and in particular those who were on shovel duty.

 An extra special thanks to the guys who did the digging! (And to Miles and Ivy, who probably also tried to help with the digging.)

An extra special thanks to the guys who did the digging! (And to Miles and Ivy, who probably also tried to help with the digging.)

 Thanks to Ward 1 Councilmember, Brianne Nadeau, for fighting to try to get money in the budget so that the DC Council can buy, save, and improve the park. And, a thanks for stopping by the cleanup. 

Thanks to Ward 1 Councilmember, Brianne Nadeau, for fighting to try to get money in the budget so that the DC Council can buy, save, and improve the park. And, a thanks for stopping by the cleanup. 

 See how much fun it is to clean up the park!  Thanks Jamie and Penelope for all your hard work!

See how much fun it is to clean up the park!  Thanks Jamie and Penelope for all your hard work!

 
 

Update: Park Supporters Testify at DC Council Hearing

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On Thursday, April 12, seven park supporters spent their afternoon asking the DC Council to add funding to the FY2019 budget to purchase the Columbia Heights dog park from WMATA. 

As you might already know, WMATA owns the property at 11th and Park, but has let us use the land for a dog park since 2009. Now, WMATA wants to sell the land. Our only chance at saving the park is for the District to buy the land and make it an official city park.

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On Thursday, the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment held a hearing on the parks and recreation budget. Five people testified before Chairwoman Mary Cheh (Ward 3) in support of the park. Lori Robertson, Chair of 11th and Bark, spoke about the nonprofit that has been trying to work with WMATA to improve the park for several years. Eva Guenther explained to the committee that the park is about more than just the dogs, it is also about the relationships and community is fosters. John Henderson, of Green Spaces for DC, testified about the importance of green space and that the Columbia Heights neighborhood is already lacking in parks. Yared Mekbib, spoke to his many years as a park-goer and what the park means the neighborhood. And, Penelope Poole, spoke to her experiences in the park and how she and her husband, who is blind, chose their home so that Aaron's service dog could use the dog park. 

Park supporters also presented the Council with the petition, signed by more than 1,400 DC residents; statements in support of the park from 216 DC residents; and letters from 11th Street businesses and neighborhood nonprofits. 

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Councilwoman Cheh expressed concern that we could lose our well-established, strongly-supported, and well-loved park. She noted that once you lose green space you never get it back and that the District can't allow every square inch of land to be turned into buildings. She also expressed interest in trying to work with Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2), who is also the Chair of the WMATA Board, to try to find the funds to purchase the land. 

Convincing Councilmember Cheh to take an interest in our park is a huge step forward that we could not have done without park-goers signing the petition and engaging in social media advocacy. But we haven't won yet. We need to do more.

Now, we need

  • park-goers to call and email members of the Committee.
  • a good showing at the April 21 park cleanup to show that we will take care of an official park if the District buys it.
  • you to come to our next happy hour, Wednesday, April 18 at 6:30 at Wonderland to help take action and thank those who testified on your behalf on Wednesday. 

Join Us For Yappy Hour on March 15

Join us for Yappy Hour on March 15 at 6 PM at Wonderland. Hopefully, you have printed out the petition and are asking your friends and neighbors to sign and support the park. If you have, you can bring those petitions with you to the Wonderland patio and return them to us. Or you can join us to find out what else you can do to help. Or, maybe you just want to drink a beer with you some dogs. All of these are good reasons to come join us on the patio at Wonderland. 

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Mayor's Budget Forums Begin: Attend to Tell the Mayor to Save the Park

Last night, five dog park regulars attended the Mayor's budget forum at the University of the District of Columbia. All of us advocated for funding to buy the dog park from WMATA. If you want to attend a forum to ask the Mayor to add money in her budget to purchase the dog park, there's still time. You can attend the forum at Watkins Elementary School on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 6:30 pm. Or you can go to the Kramer Middle School on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 10 am. You can register to attend here. Learn more about how to take action here

 

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Another Successful Mardi Paws

Thanks to the Community Wellness Alliance Collaborative, North Columbia Heights Civic Association, Patrick's Pet Care, Green Spaces for DC, Encounter Church DC, and Friends of the Trolley Park for joining us as sponsors of this year's Mardi Paws. Thanks especially to YaVonne Jackson Boyd, for all of her hard work to make the event a success.