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Community Group Pushing for a Dog Park in Pentagon City

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) A community group is pushing the county to develop a new dog park in Pentagon City.

Pentagon City Dogs recently submitted a proposal to Arlington County officials calling for a new, 25,000 square foot dog park within Virginia Highlands Park, an 18-acre collection of athletic fields, tennis courts, and some wooded areas at 1600 S. Hayes Street, across from the mall.

Currently, there are no established, public dog parks in the 22202 zip code and dogs are not permitted off-leash in Virginia Highlands Park. Supporters say a little-used portion of the park between a softball field and 15th Street S. could be an ideal location.

“The location provides easy access from high-rise and single family homes without any disruption of the quality of life of the neighbors,” the group wrote in their proposal. “In fact, the closest single-family homes are the equivalent to nearly two blocks at the end of the proposed dog park.”

The Instrata Pentagon City apartment building, however, is across the street from the proposed location.

The group also argues the location would be ideal for a dog park because of its established amenities including water, trash services, parking, and accessible entrances.

At least 20 volunteers from Pentagon City Dogs have signed up to maintain the space. The group has gathered over a hundred signatures from local residents in support, plus an endorsement from the Aurora Highlands Civic Association.

“The 22202 communities have been expressing a need for dog parks for decades, and the population of both residents and pets continues to increase,” the association wrote in its endorsement.

The proposal suggests that an initial version of the dog park could be established at minimal cost with heavy-duty temporary fencing.

“Arlington Parks & Recreation is aware of the interest to explore the opportunity for a temporary dog park in Virginia Highlands Park,” parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow. “Our recently adopted Public Spaces Master Plan includes new options for dog parks as we too see a growing interest in off-leash areas for our four-legged friends.”

Pentagon City Dogs says its members are willing to back up the park plan with money to help fund it. The group is in the early stages of fundraising efforts for the park, including seeking business donations, sponsors, and individual donors.

“While there is a possibility of County funding, we think our best chance of success will be if we can bring funding along with our proposal to the County,” said Lowell Nelson, spokesman for Pentagon City Dogs.

To accommodate the expected crowds, the group says it may be necessary to take away from of one of the current softball fields.

“There will be easily 50+ dogs (small & large) at peak times,” the proposal says. “The size would need to be at least 22,500 ft to avoid conflicts, which can be achieved by expanding into space currently occupied by one softball field. ”

There are eight established county-run dog parks in Arlington, open from sunrise until half an hour after sunset.  The nearest to Virginia Highlands Park is Towers Park, nearly two miles away at 801 S. Scott Street.

A similar initiative has begun for Eads Park, which is a mile away and similarly endorsed by the Aurora Highland Civic Association. In addition, a community group has been pressuring the county to build a temporary, gated space for dogs in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.

Nearby, Amazon has proposed 1.1 acres of open public space — for “a dog park, recreation areas, farmers markets, and more” — at its forthcoming headquarters in Pentagon City.

Photo via Google Maps 

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