Clarendon Dog Park to Get Revamped

by Katie Pyzyk May 15, 2012 at 9:27 am 7,781 79 Comments

James Hunter Park in Clarendon is about to get a facelift.

At its meeting on Saturday, May 19, the County Board is expected to award a contract for construction of the dog park, at N. Herndon and 13th Street, to Avon Corporation. The contract will be worth more than $1.6 million.

The plan to revamp the park has been in the works since 2007. The county has been collaborating with nearby neighborhood associations to devise the final plan.

The final design is for a park containing a plaza terrace with an open lawn area, gardens, a canine area, pedestrian areas and public art.

The project aims to be on the forefront of sustainability by using alternative energy, managing and recycling stormwater for use throughout the park and using recycled materials for construction.

If the board approves the contract on Saturday, construction is supposed to begin early in the summer, and should finish by late spring next year. Officials had originally hoped to have the revamped dog park ready by this summer.

County staff will work with Clarendon Dogs to post signs about other dog friendly venues that visitors can use while James Hunter Park is closed for construction.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    I miss Jim Hunter.

  • JamesE

    I would like Arlington to build a FREDTERP park, minimum three million dollars.

  • Rick

    Dogs get water features but people can’t get pothole-free streets. Must be nice to be a dog around here

    • nom de guerre

      The potholes are “water features” for both humans and animals.

      • WeiQiang

        Are you kidding me? I’m not letting my dog drink from a pothole. /snark

  • porkchop_milkshake

    I’m sure the renovations will be nice, but “in the works” for over 5 years, and a cost of $1.6M? That feels like overkill. The only thing I really miss when I’m there is a water spigot.

    It seems like that could’ve been done much sooner for much less money 🙁

    • Arlington

      We’re not cheap, but we are slow !

  • Becoming indifferent

    I’m sure glad Arlington County has its fiscal priorities in order. Still waiting for that monorail, though.

    • WeiQiang

      Wow. $2M for a dog park? I love my dog and use the dog parks in Arlington a lot. I adopted my dog from AWLA. But geezo peezo …

      How about adding some dog parks to underserved neighborhoods. Maybe not building a sprayground.

      • drax

        It’s not a dog park. It’s a human park for people who want to bring their dogs. It’s no different from the improvement made to any other park.

        • WeiQiang

          My bad. Canine Community Area.

          • drax

            How about Human-Animal Companion Interaction Zone?

          • WeiQiang

            With its own BID and poop surcharge.

        • WeiQiang

          “How about adding some human park Canine Community Areas to underserved neighborhoods.”

          The perfect is the enemy of the good … especially for the price.

  • Dog Owner

    This seems like a waste of money. It sounds like they’re changing al ot, and shrinking the dog portion of the park. That park is barely big enough for a dog park as it is, and now they’re going to make it smaller?

    All a good dog park needs is some sort of surface material- bluestone dust or woodchips or mulch, a fence, and a way to get water. It may not be the best looking thing- but it’s a DOG PARK. You could spiffy it up with a few resilient trees here and there- but all this other stuff? What a waste.

    • rossl

      I agree. I live literally next to the dog park, and the dogs already love it. This renovation is really overkill and a waste of money – all that is really needed is a water source. Instead, they’re going to take away the only dog park in Clarendon.

      • drax

        It’s not for the dogs.

        It’s a park that some people go in, and others look at from outside. This is about beautifying it for humans. No different from any other park. You’re right, the dogs don’t care.

        • WeiQiang

          The majority of the sq footage is inside the CCA. The water feature is inside the CCA for pet use. There are picnic tables inside the CCA. Outside of the CCA are a couple picnic tables, some grass, some solar panels, and a demonstration garden [presumably, the official ACPD-designated spot for future Occupy Arlington protests].

          Even accepting your human park point of view, the county can use other human parks with CCAs. In fact, the article from 2010 has planning guy stating that $350K was for the CCA and that the bond was for “other improvements”. I just think that this is an extravagance.

          • drax

            Just pointing out that the objection “That much on a park? For dogs?” isn’t valid. It’s just another park like any other that happens to have a focus, much like a splash park is for parents to let their kids run around in like dogs.

          • WeiQiang

            *oy* the sprayground. focii cost money. the current park has a focus also … and it wouldn’t cost $2m to spruce it up.

          • Ivy

            Good point!

        • Arlingtonian

          Why have taxpayer-supported parks for people who choose to possess only canines (dogs, wolves, dingoes)?

          What Arlington really needs are taxpayer-supported parks for owners of felines (cats, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, mountain lions), bunny rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles, etc. Let yourself be heard, ye oppressed owners of less popular pets.

          • The Dude

            But no Marmots, please.

          • drax

            So let’s see, now we’ve had the slippery slope fallacy invoked on gay marriage, backyard chickens, and dog parks.

      • AllenB

        I’ve used that dog park and the dogs may love it but the owners hate it. Everytime there is the slightest rain it turns into a mud pit.

        Glad they are turning this into a people, and dog, friendly park.

        • rossl

          Sure, if it has been rainy it’s gross…people just don’t use it when wet. Not worth a $2 million overkill (and many months where the dogs won’t have anywhere close to run around and exercise).

        • stephanie

          um… so do the playgrounds.

          they just rejected the notion of adding a full-time residential specialist for the public schools, one that every single principal in the county has requested…the salary was 46k.

          yet they can spend 2 million dollars because you have an issue with not being able to use a park after it rains??


          • drax

            No, not really.

            It gets MUDDY, not just wet. The mud lasts long after the rain ends. See the difference?

          • Josh S

            What’s a residential specialist?

          • nom de guerre

            The article referenced below refers to a “Residency Specialist” who would investigate situations where it is suspected that a child attending Arlington County Public Schools is not actually a resident of the county.


    • DogParkUser

      The vast majority of the cost of the renovation has nothing to do with this being a dog park. The county was required to update, widen and improve the sidewalks surrounding the area (American’s with Disability Act requirement, I believe) and had to improve the water drainage at the site (anyone who has been there after a storm can see why). Both of those would have had to have been done regardless of what the park was for.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Agree it seems like overkill. The other thing I’ve been wondering recently is if anyone makes any evaluations of how some of these projects actually turn out after they are implemented. In my neighborhood in Madison Manor, a few years ago the County redesiged an intersection to try to stop people from running through the inserction withouit stopping at the stop sign. It was a legitimate safety issue, and it took them literally years and I estimate almost $100,000 to design, clear and rebuild. The problem? The new design hasn’t stopped a single person from flying through the stop. It is exactly the same problem as before the project. I don’t doubt anyone’s good intentions, but the fact is the project was a complete waste of money, time and manpower.

  • John Fontain

    As a dog owner, I’m looking forward to the renovated park, which I’m sure will be nice. But come on, more than $1.6 million (in addition to what has already been spent on planning and design) for a dog park is ridiculous!

    This is yet another example of recklessly spending OPM (other people’s money) in a wasteful way. For $100,000, the county could have refenced the entire property as shown in the design, added bench seating, and redone the entire landscaping, including putting in new turf grass and trees and shrubs.

    But instead, we’ve got years and years of staff time spent on studying and planning and designing and the end product is a very expensive park when something much more simple and affordable would have been sufficient.

    I’ll certainly get use out of this park, but I really wish our county would change course and do projects with an aim at affordability and practicality.

    • We asked for what?

      Did you vote for the parks bond issue in 2010? If the answer is yes you personally asked the county to build this park. If no then continue your rant.

      • John Fontain

        I almost always vote NO on the (euphemistically titled) bond referendums. I wonder if the voting results would be any different if the county would ever honestly describe the choice for voters in plain English such as:

        “Should we go into debt to build/pay for [XYZ]?”

        But instead we get euphemistic language such as “Shall we contract a debt and issue our bonds?”

        • Duh

          I just have a slight suspicion that the opaque wording is intentional…..now mind you, it is just a “slight suspicion”.

          • drax

            Most voters are stupid and just vote yes for stuff they don’t understand, is that it?

          • John Fontain

            Put simply, the wording in the “bond referendums” conveys this question:

            “Would you like a nice, shiny new park?”

            Rather than this question:

            “Should we spend money we don’t have by going into more debt to build a very, very expensive park?”

          • drax

            So YOU think voters are stupid, huh John? Except you – you’re smarter than the rest of us.

          • John Fontain

            Drax, this has nothing to do with who thinks whom is stupid. This about the county using appropriate language to clearly and plainly describe the voter’s choice in terms that everyone (regardless of education background) can easily understand. Language like “Shall we contract a debt” doesn’t accomplish that. I don’t get why you’re so opposed to clear language.

          • Josh S

            Err, no. THis language is used nationwide for such referenda. Your insistence that it is intentionally misleading is just your interpretation, that’s all. And it does seem to imply that the local government is assuming that people are too dumb to understand what they are voting on. I tend to agree that on the whole the American population is barely educated enough to responsibly participate in democracy, but I would wager a small sum that the average Arlington voter is more than qualified to know what the hell a bond is.
            Also, your proposed alternative language is hardly neutral and so completely absurd.

          • drax

            Yes, John, you think most people are too stupid to understand that they are being asked to pay for a park. Your point about foreign languages is a good one, but you just added it. Perhaps you should suggest that ballots be offered in multiple languages.

            Most of use know what “contracting a debt” means. We are not children who see “nice shiny park” and are dazzled by shiny objects. Your posts up to now have assumed that the voters are too dumb to understand what they are voting for.

      • Duh

        I voted no…..thanks for your permission for my rant to continue….I had been holding off till it came through !!

        • we asked for what?

          So rant-away. Let’s hear it. I’m directing my sarcasm towards anyone who voted for a bond issue and then are shocked, shocked I say, at the cost when AC executes the approved plan.

          Yeah I voted for the issue. I’m looking forward to taking my dog there. But I also agree with John F. above that nobody has any idea W Tee Eff are in these plans on election day.

    • Ballstonian

      I see on TV when groups of members of a community come together and clean up a vacant lot and make it into a park, presumably on the cheap. Now, im not saying that I should be out there pouring concrete or creating a “demonstration garden,” but I wonder if they could save some $ by seeing if local people wanted to pitch in and perform some of the more basic labor.

    • Dubya

      Who’s down with OPM? (yeah you know me) x3
      Every last trust fund baby

  • South Awwlington

    No morning notes?

    • nom de guerre

      Morning Notes: How about a combination of the most recent articles? Woman wakes up to find topless ex-girlfriend having sex with her in Clarendon dog park.

      • CW

        Pics or it didn’t happen.

        • South Awwlington

          oh snap.

    • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

      I’m hoping morning notes is a bawdy mix of randy Arlington perverts, cupcake wars and cruising locations.

      • WeiQiang

        … perhaps the ArlNow version of ‘santorum’?

    • WeiQiang

      Morning Notes: Wheel comes off Miriam Jones’ stolen bicycle on northbound Glebe Rd and lands in sewage pump at Arlington wastewater treatment paln, causing raw sewage to back up on to William Jeffrey’s outdoor seating area.

      • drax

        But creating 75 “new” jobs!

  • jason b

    What does that have to do with this dude taking all the pizza and not giving a slice to his bro?

    I guess his bro should have gone to a drunken bbq instead; at least the bro would have been fed after he got intoxicated.

  • mick way

    IIRC we, meaning the majority of voters who showed up, approved a bond issue for this project.

    So the bond has been floated. Project has to be done. The majority has spoken. Enjoy your park.

  • arl2012

    I may have to get a dog in the future!

  • karzai

    This is not the only project way behind schedule. The work on a revamped median park/setting area at the metro station stop was supposed to begin many months ago. No work has been started. Instead we have untrimmed, hilly grass mounds and haphazard seating. Seems to me this should be at least as high a priority, if not higher, than redoing the dog park.

    • Vicente Fox

      Not to mention how long it’s taken to redevelop Sam’s Corner.

      • CW

        Speaking of Sam’s, I haven’t heard any announcements on their specials in a couple days. It’s almost like they’ve been closed or something.

      • karzai

        Sam’s Corner is going to be redeveloped as a bagel place. I have already purchased bagel-making equipment and am in the process of evaluating bids to redo the interior. It is going to do a bang-up business, I predict. I’m sure you’ll like it.

        • drax

          75 new jobs!

        • nom de guerre

          Are you going to employ Richard Cranium to make the holes in the bagels?

          • Richard Cranium

            Hmmm . . . looks like I’m going to need some Blue Steel for my new gig!

  • South Awwlington

    Does it have a pool, a lazy river and a doggie spa? I hope so.

    • WeiQiang

      No, silly. But the monorail will take you to alternative dog-friendly parks.

  • Danton

    Bunch of lazy yuppies bringing their dogs to the dog park.

    Take them for a long walk, they will enjoy it more.

    • WeiQiang

      I do both … and take her running. She gets MUCH better exercise and soclialization at the park. This makes her a much better neighbor where I live. That’s my experience – your mileage may vary.

  • Shane

    We already have a slew of parkland througout Arlington. We also have a leash law that, thankfully, AWLA leaves unenforced. But because we have a leash law on the books, we have to set aside land and money so that people can obey the unenforced leash law.

    So is it truly worth it to spend $1.6 million of other people’s money so that people can obey an unenforced law? Wouldn’t it be far more prudent to:

    1. repeal the leash law;
    2. rebate the $1.6 million to Arlington taxpayers; and
    3. invite dogs to use the myriad parks in Arlington so that people can get used to living amongst ALL that one finds in nature???

    Why is this so difficult? Parents, learn how to parent–stop looking to the County to protect your kids from a nonexistent threat that you haven’t bothered to understand.

    • Richard Cranium

      Know how I know you’re not a parent?

    • drax

      I’m going to teach my kids to bite your dog.

  • Alex

    Yay! It’s only been 6 years in the making. Were the improvements objected to or something? Did someone want it to remain “as is” for historic purposes?

  • I am requesting that it be considered that a water fountain/faucet be put in. The house had plumbing so it shouldn’t be a problem-except for the cost. Could we have a park fee like Banneker has/had. ALso it would be totally awesome to had some trees!

    • WeiQiang

      The whole fountain in the park is for the dogs to frolic in and drink from. Please see the design shown in the article.

  • Dog Owner

    Why is this going to take so long to complete? I would think this kind of thing could be done in a couple of months (max).

    • Josh S

      If this was China, it would be done in one day.

      • drax

        For $5,000!

      • nom de guerre

        If this was China some of the people would eat the dogs.


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