Groundbreaking of Upshur Dog Park

Photo by Vikrum Aiyer

From a press release:

“Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Jesús Aguirre joined the Friends of 16th Street Heights, Ward 4 residents and dog enthusiasts for a groundbreaking of Upshur Dog Park, 4300 Arkansas Avenue.

“We are excited to begin work on this exciting new dog park,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “The dog park program is a great example of public-private partnerships that leads to additional resources and activities for all residents.”

DPR Director Jesús Aguirre stated, “DPR is proud to continue to build dogs parks across the District of Columbia. The groundbreaking of Upshur Dog Park is a landmark moment for pet owners in Ward 4 as they will soon be able to enjoy their first official dog park.”

The new 9,000 square foot dog park will be in ADA-compliance and boasts:

* Fencing and gates
* Landscaping
* A tool shed
* Benches and picnic tables
* A dog fountain and water bowls

When completed in October 2010, the $286,000 park will be maintained by a partnership between DPR and the Friends of 16th Street Heights, the sponsoring community organization.”

Photo by Vikrum Aiyer

44 Comment

  • If your dog needs 9000 sq ft you should not live in the city.  If you already lived in the city you should not have gotten a dog that needs 9000 sq ft.  Please stop taking large portions of our parks and annexing them as “dog parks” reserved for certain people.  City parks were always intended for both humans and animals.  This should be no problem because city people should have small animals and should train them to behave like city animals, not run free as if they were not in the city.

    • Someone didn’t get their treats this morning

    • I don’t think it’s being built for a single dog, and 9000 sq ft isn’t very big. It’s about 1/5 of a football field.

    • Actually I like them and I vote and I pay taxes.

      The parks are great because they separate the people and the plants from the dogs. It’s more harmonious for everyone.

    • Who peed on your wheaties? Grrr. Definitely not a dog lover by the sounds of things.

    • Clearly you have never seen this site, as in my opinion there’s little else that could be done with this lot. In a neighborhood which already has great people/kid parks (Upshur Park/Pool and Taylor Rec Center/Spray Park)I really don’t see the harm in creating a dog park which will provide residents with a space to run their dogs (which isn’t the baseball diamond on Upshur). Congrats to the people who worked so hard for this park, I personally think it is a great addition to the neighborhood and will see you there!

  • Do you know how much \9000 square feet\ is? Well, an acre is 43560 square feet. It’s less than a quarter-acre. This means it’s about the same size as a single lot for a typical suburban home.

    As another way to think about this, Rock Creek Park is over 1,700 acres. None of that legally available to dogs off leash.

    Now, consider that 39% of all U.S. households have dogs. This single suburban home-sized lot will serve hundreds if not thousands of dog-owning households in the District of Columbia.

    Finally, consider that with the exception of a couple acres in DC, none of it is legally available for dogs to run off leash. On the other hand, there are thousands of acres of parks where dogs are not permitted off leash.

    I think a few dog parks is a very small offering to the dog-owning population of DC which is not insignificant.

    • I got a better idea. Fence off 9000 sf with some shade and allow public imbibing of alcoholic beverages. Throw in a bocce court and we’re still barely scraping $50k I’d wager.

      That, Mr. mayor, is how you apply public funds to serve the community.

      • That’s actually a great idea. Then don’t let anyone out until they’re sober again and we’ve solved the city’s homeless problem.

      • If you want to play bocce and drink, you could just go to Vinoteca. Personally I’m glad our public parks don’t encourage throwing of 10 pound balls. They would also require security guards.

        If you just want to drink beer in public, you can already do so (thankfully without a bocce court) at almost every public park in DC already. They are well used for that purpose I can assure you.

  • Anyone else noting the racial make up of that mayoral photo op?

    • Yeah, mostly pit bull. Sign of the times.

      • I am someone who has never been drawn to pit bulls, but is drawn to shelter dogs. I am now on my second pit mix, mainly because I failed to see “pit” and instead saw a cute, friendly, sweet dog that needed a loving home.

        I’m betting a not-insignificant number of other pit (or mix) owners have them because we’re more concerned with adopting good, unwanted dogs from a shelter than with avoiding a particular breed. I suppose it is a sign of the times that there are so many unwanted pit mixes in the shelters where “breeders” abandon them.

        I’m not a breed defender (if I picked based on breed, I’d go for a Labrador every time), but the anti-pit sentiment is overdone.

    • why do we always need to note the racial make up of these pictures?

      • because this is DC and we are a city full of people with tremendous racial baggage. it filters everything.

      • Probably because many see the issue of dog parks as a yuppie (read “White, well-heeled”) issue and see Fenty as pandering to that demographic. But of course that’s not completely true. Fenty panders to lots of White AND Black folks: his developer contributors (giving them next-to-free public lands and dibbs on prime real estate), fellow frat boyz (illegal DPR contracts worth millions — and let’s not forget his biker/running buddies. What a sleazeball turncoat.

    • Yep, picked up on that too—the three black/gray dogs are all on one side, while the tan/brown dogs are all on the other. Post-racial society, my eye.

  • Does the lectern stay with the park?

    • that’s the plan. distinguished dogs from the community will give talks on issues affecting them today.

      next year’s series includes:
      -grass eating and its potential benefits and risks
      -optimizing your number of rotations before laying down
      -coping with dog park hating taxpayers
      -why are there no cat parks?: living with animal racism
      -overcoming barking addiction
      -the 12 steps to becoming a “good boy.”

  • That’s great news. And I am grateful to Fenty for his role in the establishment of legal dog parks around the city. The city needs these parks. Yes, we need other things as well and we have limited resources, but I’m glad we have these parks. They are good for the community. If you doubt that, I suggest you visit the park on a few evenings once it is complete.

  • Yes–when will the DC government quit funding these dog centric blights on our community? Especially when it sounds like there is a groundswell of support for keeping our parks exactly the same as they have always been. forever. Fear change.

  • for those late to the party, this has been in the works for a significant amount of time. there have been a series of public hearings regarding it, so just because you read it today on PoP and decided it’s a waste of money doesn’t mean it’s not a well-planned effort. if you wanted it to be a playground/bocce court/shuffleboard space/curling arena/ultimate fighting octagon, you should have taken some interest, shown up, and expressed your opinion.

    also, for what it’s worth, the portion of Upshur Park that’s being used for it sits off in a corner that could use the benefit of a little extra foot traffic from a safety standpoint. there has actually been a dog park there for some time…but it’s consisted of 4 tall fences around a muddy patch of grass. the infrastructure being put it will make it safer, cleaner, and more attractive than its current state.

  • Can’t wait for the dog park to open!

    People love to complain about money being spent on dog parks, but remember, dog-owners pay taxes, too.

    Dogs are not allowed off-leash anywhere else in DC on public property except in dog parks- not even in the Arboretum. There is a definite need for dog-parks.

    A complaint that dog-owners should move to the burbs where they have their own yards can also be applied to families with children. A very unconstructive complaint. Enough love it or leave it talk, get a real argument.

    • Nice!

      BTW, why doesn’t DC allow dogs to run off leash–except in the small dog parks? I mean c’mon, Rock Creek Park is huge and I know my dog would love to run ahead off leash. I don’t understand why DC imposes the rule that they can’t run in open space–unless it’s an official dog park.

  • Let me tell you about entitlement bullshit:

    I own a dog. Buy my dog park.

    I own a cat. Buy my replacement curtains.

    I own a crack habit. Buy my rehab.

    That’s right. It’s a public good even if I’m the only one using it. You pay for it and love it so you don’t have to deal with my antisocial bs quite as much.

  • But they cut SYEP due to lack of funding and open a $286,000 DOG park… I swear.

    • Political facts: Poor, Black youth can’t vote, but dog owners do. And a lot of yuppie dog owners feel their dogs are just as important as our (Black and Latino) kids. As a veteran of the Kalorama Park dog wars of the ’90s, I know; I had it said to me numerous times. Me — I don’t have a problem with dogs; they’re great. But I do have a problem with dog owners who insist they have a right to run them off-leash, leash laws be damned. White entitlement. It’s a b*tch.

  • Dog Parks are great and worth every-single-penny. Isn’t that right

  • As someone else noted, if you have such a problem with this park, you should have expressed yourself at the hearings. For this dog park to happen, clearly there was enough public interest in it that the city supported it.

    As TootsieMom says, those against this park definitely haven’t seen this site. The current dog park is in a corner far from the other parts of the park, and is a total piece of crap. It’s dirt with a fence around it. It’s not particularly safe feeling or clean, and it doesn’t get a lot of food traffic. Putting this new amenity on this site will certainly better the neighborhood and add an actual use to this otherwise practically useless patch of land.

    Finally, dogs CAN have great lives in a city environment. Dog owners in the city must take greater measures to ensure the proper exercise of their dogs. However, those responsible dog owners find that their dogs are better socialized and overall, have more beneficial and a better variety of sensory experiences than dogs in the suburbs. This isn’t favoring one over the other, but cities can actually be a great place for dogs, if they have responsible owners!

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