GW Parkway Closure — Updated at 9:15 a.m. — “All lanes of the GW Parkway are now closed during Friday morning’s rush hour due to a large sinkhole that was discovered overnight.” [Tysons Reporter]
HQ2 Impact to Be Bigger Than Expected? — JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and George Mason University’s Stephen S. Fuller both think many are underestimating HQ2’s impact on job creation in the region. [Washington Business Journal, Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Gets High Marks for Dog Parks — Arlington is No. 10 on the Trust for Public Land’s ranking of cities with the most dog parks per capita. Arlington has eight dog parks, or 3.5 for every 100,000 residents. D.C. ranked No. 22 on the list. [Trust for Public Land]
Wilson Blvd to Close Again in Ballston — “That stretch of Wilson Boulevard at @BallstonQuarter that’s now closed eastbound on school nights 8pm-6am for 8 weeks? It’ll also be closed both ways this weekend, Friday 8pm to Sunday 6pm. Lots of pedestrian bridge to do.” [Twitter]
Road Closures in N. Arlington — “The Nottingham/Discovery Elementary Schools 5K race will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will close several roads from approximately 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]
Basketball Fundraiser Tonight — “New Directions High School students will play Arlington County’s heroes — including some of the police department, fire department, probation and prosecutor’s office” tonight at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School to raise money for New Directions. [Twitter]
No Hyperloop for Va. for Now — “Virginia transit officials flew to California to check out Elon Musk’s Boring Co. tunnel. They say they’re gonna stick with traditional roads and railways for now. ‘It’s a car in a very small tunnel.'” [Virginia Mercury, Twitter]
Arlington’s neighborhoods are packed with condos and high-rise apartments, but dogs without backyards have an abundance of dog parks nearby. We researched Arlington dog parks to bring you the top 3 where dogs and owners alike can socialize! Watch for our article coming soon to ARLnow.
Posted by Keri Shull Team on Friday, October 26, 2018
Like most of us, dogs love fresh air, sunshine and room to stretch out.
Arlington’s neighborhoods are packed with condos and high-rise apartments, but dogs without backyards still have three excellent dog parks nearby. These are all places where you can let your dog run off leash and play with other dogs while you get to know your neighbors.
Taking your dog to the dog park might even help reduce the costs of veterinary care — like us, dogs are healthier when they’re well-exercised and have time to socialize. Young dogs need an outlet for their abundant energy, while older dogs can be taken to the park and motivated to play with younger dogs.
In the video above, Keri Shull and Drew Carpenter of the Keri Shull Team break down the top three dog parks in Arlington. All of these dog parks stand within easy reach of popular Arlington residential and business areas.
3. Shirlington Park — Shirlington
Location: 2754-2798 S Oakland Street, alongside the Four Mile Run Trail. Parking is easy to find here.
Shirlington park is natural and grassy, with many areas to run. One advantage of Shirlington dog park is that the smaller dogs and larger dogs have separate play areas, so your pug won’t have to dodge the massive mitts of a Newfoundland.
2. Glencarlyn Dog Park — Glencarlyn
Location: 301 S Harrison Street, northwest of Shirlington Dog Park, also located along theFour Mile Run Trail.
Glencarlyn dog park offers free parking.
Glencarlyn is the best of these dog parks to visit if you also have children who want to run and play. It’s a beautiful park with picnic tables, a playground, an off-leash dog park area and a stream. Glencarlyn is strung with trails for biking and jogging. There’s even a “learning loop” where wobbly young bicyclists can practice their skills.
1. James Hunter Park — Clarendon
Location: 1299 North Herndon Street, this is right in the heart of downtown Arlington.
Clarendon’s James Hunter Park features a solar-powered stone waterfall pool for dogs to cool off in during the dog days of Arlington summers. This fountain runs about three seasons of the year, then closes in the wintertime.
This park is completely enclosed by a fence, so dogs can run off-leash without escaping. Unique sound paneling muffles the dog noise so nearby high-rise neighbors aren’t disturbed by raucous dogs.
This dog park is locally a bit infamous for costing $1.8 million to construct.
Parking can be a little more difficult to find here than at the Shirlington or Glencarlyn dog parks, but if James Hunter Park is within a 30-minute walk of your house or condo in Arlington, this is a park your dog will love, especially during the summer.
What’s your dog’s favorite dog park in Arlington? How can you tell? Let us know in the comments!
Arlington is earning more high marks for its high-quality parks, this time winning the spotlight for its large number of amenities like playgrounds and nature centers.
A new report from the Trust for Public Land released today (Wednesday) ranked the county eighth in the country among large localities when it comes to park acreage per 1,000 residents. With 1,767 acres of parks in the county’s 26 square miles, Arlington has about 7.75 acres of parks for every 1,000 people, better than major cities like San Francisco and New York.
Those high marks mirror previous studies by the California-based group, which is leading an advocacy effort to ensure that everyone living in a city is within a 10-minute walk of a park. The Trust for Public Land previously ranked Arlington fourth in the country for its park system by evaluating a variety of different metrics.
But this time around, the group also studied the number of recreational amenities available in the county’s parks to provide an even more granular view of where Arlington stands. In all, the researchers awarded the county six top 10 marks for its distribution of various amenities.
With a total of three nature centers to serve its roughly 228,000 residents, the county ranked fourth in the nation. Arlington’s 99 playgrounds, good for 4.3 playgrounds per 10,000 residents, was also good enough to tie the county for sixth overall.
The county’s 87 tennis courts ranked seventh nationally, while its 12 pickleball courts placed ninth. Similarly, Arlington’s eight community gardens and 301 garden plots also ranked ninth.
Finally, the county picked up a 10th place ranking for its number of dog parks, with eight in total.
D.C. also ranked quite highly in the group’s rankings once more — the District placed first in the nation in park acreage per 1,000 residents, and earned five other top 10 marks.
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.
Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.
Tuesday, June 5
Urban Agriculture: Herbs
Westover Library (788 N. McKinley Road)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
Attendees of this workshop will learn how to nurture a kitchen garden that will give them easy access to fresh herbs. Those interested may RSVP here. Attendance is on a first come, first served basis.
Wednesday, June 6
Defining Our Digital Destiny: The Future of Work in Arlington*
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street)
Time: 6-8 p.m.
A panel that includes representatives from Virginia Tech and the county government will discuss how technology will affect the future of the Arlington workforce. Attendees will have the opportunity to network before the panel begins at 6:30.
Brunch and Business: The Successful Journey of an Immigrant Entrepreneur
Arlington Economic Development (1100 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Three Arlington entrepreneurs will discuss their paths from arriving in the United States to starting their own businesses. Admission is free, but registration is required.
Thursday, June 7
YEA! Trade Show
Ballston Center (1000 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 5-7 p.m.
The 2018 class of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy will present their new start-up businesses. Goods and services developed by YEA! students will be available for purchase.
Hip Hop Thursday Cycle Class at Ryde in Clarendon
Ryde Cycle (1025 N. Fillmore Street)
Time: 7:45-8:15 p.m.
Join certified Ryde Cycle instructors for a high-intensity cardio workout featuring rhythm-based choreography and a candle-lit studio. First time “ryders” can take advantage of a buy one get one free offer.
Friday, June 8
Connection Crystal City Library (2117 Crystal Plaza Arcade)
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Supplies will be provided to craft unique PRIDE buttons in celebration of Pride Month. RSVP for an event reminder. Attendance is first come, first served.
G.O.A.T. Sports Bar (3028 Wilson Blvd)
Time: 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
The first Supreme Friday at The G.O.A.T. will feature two floors of DJs and music, video games, HD TVs and more. Bar-goers can register here to skip the line.
Saturday, June 9
Unveiling of Historic Civil Rights Plaque*
Hair Vogue (3815 Lee Highway)
Time: 10:30-10:45 a.m.
A plaque honoring participants in the first day of lunch-counter protests in northern Virginia on June 9, 1960 will be placed at 3815 Lee Highway — formerly the location of the Cherrydale Drug Fair, where the sit-in occurred.
Anniversary Celebration: Cherrydale at 125
Cherrydale Branch Library (2190 Military Road)
Time: 11 a.m.
Cherrydale will commemorate the 1959 desegregation of Stratford Junior High, the 1960 Cherrydale Drug Fair sit-in and the contributions of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department at the Pentagon on 9/11.
Sunday, June 10
The Arlington Triathlon*
Washington-Lee Aquatic Center (1301 N. Stafford Street)
Time: 8-10:30 a.m.
This event invites competitors aged 7-15 to participate in a run-bike-swim race to benefit the Arlington Triathlon Club. Registration information may be found online.
The Armed Forces Cycling Classic
Crystal City area (2121 Crystal Drive)
Time: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Competitive cyclists will compete for the Crystal Cup and cycling enthusiasts of all levels can participate in other events on the second day of the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, following Saturday’s Clarendon Cup races.
Bark in the Park*
James Hunter Park (1229 N. Herndon Street)
Time: 3-6 p.m.
Bring your dog for free live music and Smoking Kow barbecue at the Clarendon dog park. Event is presented by Clarendon Animal Care and Clarendon Alliance.
Ten at Clarendon (3110 10th Street N.)
Free rosé from Screwtop Wine Bar and light hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Ten at Clarendon courtyard. RSVP on Facebook to attend.
*Denotes featured (sponsored) event
County staff are set to reveal the new design features for dog park improvements at Benjamin Banneker Park in East Falls Church.
The public will get a look at the conceptual dog park design tomorrow during a meeting at Tuckahoe Elementary School, starting at 7 p.m. Some proposed additions include new furnishings and play features.
The dog park renovations are a part of a larger plan to transform Banneker Park, which was announced in December. Besides the improved dog area, Benjamin Banneker Park will get wider trails, improved accessibility, parking lot improvements and a relocated playground that will be separated from trails and visible from the street.
Information shared at the dog park design meeting will be shared on the park project’s web page. In the future there will also be an opportunity to share thoughts on the dog park’s conceptual design and features.
Photos courtesy Arlington County
A tipster tells ARLnow that a pig has been coming to the dog park with its owner for at least the past two Saturdays, even though county code specifies that “no animals should be inside the dog park perimeters whether on or off of a tether or leash except for dogs.”
Additionally, Arlington residents cannot keep or maintain “any pig, shoat, sow, hog, or other porcine animal anywhere within the confines of the county.” Pigs have been illegal to keep as pets in the county, according to the local ordinance, since 1935.
The Animal Welfare League of Arlington have heard of the pig, which arrives on a leash and harness with its owner.
“It was casually mentioned to me today that a friend was aware that a pig had been in the dog park,” said Jennifer Toussaint, the county’s chief animal country officer, told ARLnow Monday.
However, the AWLA had not received any complaints or service calls regarding the prohibited pig. Toussaint has never received a formal complaint about a pig in the county during her ten years with organization.
The Dept. of Parks and Recreation would, in fact, have to be first to get involved, given that it is a question of inappropriate park usage, according to Toussaint.
AWLA is an education-based agency, she added, so pigs wouldn’t be confiscated immediately. After informing owners of the county code, the shelter’s policy would be to give owners a week, as a compliance period, to re-home their pet where it could be legally kept.
If an owner was unable to find a suitable home, there are “quite a few farm sanctuaries known to assist locals in Northern Virginia with pets” that were, intentionally or otherwise, illegally acquired.
Unlike some more nuanced local laws, Toussaint said it’s not difficult to understand that it’s illegal to have a pet pig in Arlington.
“Some ordinances are very tricky to understand,” she said. “This is pretty much a clear, one sentence ordinance.”
The report, prepared by a committee of five group members over the summer, made various recommendations for the park’s short, medium and long-term future.
It looks to find ways to manage stormwater runoff into Four Mile Run from surfaces that do not absorb rainwater and to ensure the park remains well-used. The report was drafted after the Arlington County Board sent plans to reduce its size back to the drawing board.
The report said taking down two county-owned warehouses on S. Oakland Street, adjacent to the park, would help manage stormwater runoff and allow a connection between the dog park and a proposed arts district nearby.
“In addition to addressing some adjacent stormwater issues, this would serve an array of complementary objectives such as integrating this new park area and the dog park with the arts district, provide a flexible-use area for festivals and arts events, provide swing space for recreational functions as Jennie Dean Park is developed, and improve connectivity and open up the line of sight from South Four Mile Drive into the park,” the report reads.
But in suggesting those warehouses be taken down, some group members argued the committee exceeded the scope of its study.
“I felt as though the report spent a lot of time on issues that frankly were not in the group’s charge,” said group vice chair Robin Stombler. Others noted that a report on a potential arts district suggested using the warehouses as space for artists.
Longtime civic leader Carrie Johnson expressed her disappointment at what she described as a “disputed space problem,” and urged the group to find a compromise between the warehouses’ use in the arts district or removal for the dog park.
“I would have hoped to hear less fighting over acreage and more about how it could be used for everybody’s benefit,” she said.
In the short-term, the group recommended various small ways to help manage stormwater at the park, including no longer mowing the grass, protecting existing trees and limiting access to the stream.
But in the medium term, the report called on county government to show leadership in managing stormwater runoff from its buildings to help protect the park. They also urged an expansion of a program where businesses receive grants and other incentives to install ways to manage stormwater through green roofs, rain barrels and the like.
The area’s current zoning encourages making changes through redevelopment, as opposed to incentivizing existing businesses to make those environmentally-friendly tweaks.
“There seems to be no answer here, because the county seems unable to change anything for the existing businesses until they redevelop,” said Anne Inman, a group member.
The report noted that the need to balance stormwater with the park’s popularity is a “catch-22,” as “leaving the park in its current condition is not a viable long-term solution, but efforts to mitigate the environmental issues would trigger significant, costly and undesirable changes to the park.”
Group chair Charles Monson said they will not look to endorse any report prepared by a committee, but will instead use them to guide their thinking as planning the area’s future continues.
The report’s full recommendations are after the jump.
- Block access to informal path outside the dog park fence to minimize soil compaction
- Discontinue mowing along fence edge to increase vegetative buffers
- Increase plantings along the stream bank, where soil conditions permit
- Add park “snags” such as large stumps or rocks at entrances to encourage dogs to pee on them when they enter the park, instead of urinating on trees
- Create barriers to protect existing trees
- Increase availability of trash containers and bags on both sides of the stream (including in Shirlington Park) to more effectively collect dog waste
- Improve signage and public education regarding pollution, stream warnings, environmental issues and dog park rules
- Limit access to the stream to designated entry points to reduce stream bank erosion
- Reclaim county-owned land at Oxford Street and widen the dog park at its narrowest point and reconfigure entrance gates
- Add parking meters and enforce a maximum two-hour parking limit to better distribute usage of existing parking
Medium-term (next 5-10 years)
- Develop a pilot program using economic incentives similar to facade improvement grants for existing businesses to capture stormwater runoff from rooftops for preventing erosion, watering trees and dispersing stormwater more slowly into the ground to improve water quality
- Enhance the existing Shirlington Dog Park sponsoring group by recruiting and training additional volunteers to assist in managing the dog park with specific emphasis on erosion and pollution prevention, tree protection, public education about environmental conditions, invasive species removal, and minimizing use of informal trails
- Explore alternatives for managing expected growth in dog park usage by considering best practices in other jurisdictions
The “dog park area” boundaries should be recognized as including both the Nelson/Oakland parking area (required by county ordinance for any park) and the pathway at the eastern main gate to the pedestrian bridge as well as the western path from the dog park gate to Walter Reed Drive. This could provide additional areas for reconfiguration, drainage, filtration, planting and buffering.
Longer term considerations should a triggering event (like a hurricane or major storm) occur:
- Amend and/or remediate existing hard pack ground to provide soil, improve
- permeability and better support vegetation and trees
- Reconfigure existing walkway from the pedestrian bridge
- Work with owners of adjacent properties to reconfigure the existing walkway from
- Walter Reed Drive, much of which is already on county-owned land
- Reconfigure existing parking (assuming a long-term parking solution has been developed elsewhere in the planning area) and incorporate existing parking area while retaining ADA parking access directly adjacent to the dog park
- Replace existing asphalt with permeable pavers
Photo No. 2 via Google Maps
But the need to balance the park needing to manage stormwater while preserving a beloved community asset weighed heavily after a strong backlash against reducing its size.
That community anxiety about the park’s future helped result in the County Board directing staff late last month to go back to the drawing board. Plans drawn up by staff would have shrunk the 109,000 square foot park to as little as 27,000 square feet to accommodate stormwater management.
During their work session, Board members said there must be a better balance between environmental needs and community desires. But some working group members felt the environment was forced to take a back seat.
“I felt extremely distressed with the comments and presentation because it didn’t deal with the environment,” said group member Nora Palmatier.
Several group members also criticized staff for not presenting more options to deal with stormwater beyond a 35-foot buffer near the stream. And while at-large member Keith Fred said it was a “shame” there hadn’t been more conversations about environmental protection at the site a year ago, others said it was an opportunity to put forward new plans.
“We have been challenged as a group and staff as well to think outside the box and look at other alternatives to protect what is a very important economic driver for the Valley,” said group member Adam Henderson.
And Edie Wilson, a member of the working group representing the Shirlington Civic Association, said that despite the community’s strong opposition to any changes at the park, residents care about balancing it with any environmental needs.
Wilson said it is possible to “walk and chew gum at the same time,” and that with staff putting new options forward, she looks forward to seeing what can be done.
“We need to be very careful with the assumption that we don’t care about the environment,” she said. “We have a variety of ways to do both. There’s work to do.”
Later in the meeting, Wilson said more must be done to educate the community about what is being done in the area, and particularly to show them why changes may need to be made to the dog park.
“We really need some public education, and I mean public education in the most civil sense of the word,” she said. “People have a lot of questions.”
County staff said they will meet with County Manager Mark Schwartz later this week to chart a path forward for the park and other projects in the Four Mile Run Valley. No public speakers at the meeting addressed the dog park’s future.
At a work session last night of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, Board members said that staff must return with new options that would either keep the 109,000 square foot dog park the same size or reduce it slightly.
Previous alternatives put forward by staff would have cut the park’s size by as much as 75 percent to comply with stormwater management requirements in the area of Four Mile Run.
But County Board members said more study is required on other possible options to comply with stormwater management and not lose what vice chair Katie Cristol said is a “well-loved” dog park.
“There is more that we don’t know about alternatives,” Cristol said. “Perhaps [staff] feel confident that you know them. I do not yet feel confident enough to recommend or approve or direct such significant changes to such a well-loved community amenity without a better sense of the alternatives for stormwater remediation.”
There was unanimous agreement among Board members on how to move forward. John Vihstadt said he wants it to stay “substantially as-is for the longest possible time,” while Christian Dorsey argued for a “programmatic approach” that ensures a community amenity is protected while complying with stormwater needs.
In a letter to the County Board ahead of the meeting obtained by ARLnow, Shirlington Civic Association president Edith Wilson and vice president Richard Adler said the Four Mile Run Valley working group needs subcommittees to deal with a slew of issues including the dog park. Not all options have been explored, they said.
The pair, who both sit on the working group, said the dog park has an economic benefit to the neighborhood as well as community and environmental value.
“The [May 17] proposals are remarkably insensitive to the economic and marketing value of the dog park — how could the county possibly think to make public a proposal to reduce it from 109,000 square feet to 27,000?” the pair wrote. “How would we replace the jobs, businesses and real estate sales this would affect?”
After the meeting, supporters were jubilant, including on a Facebook page dedicated to saving the Shirlington Dog Park.
“Our advocacy clearly made a difference as the Arlington County board members were all convinced of how deeply we love our dog park and how impassioned we are about saving it,” wrote one supporter. “All of us should feel a great deal of pride today that we successfully mobilized to save our beloved dog park!”
The much-loved Shirlington Dog Park could get much smaller under plans being discussed by the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.
Three alternatives have been put forward for the park along Four Mile Run, including one that would reduce it by 75 percent to approximately 27,000 square feet, known as Alternative 1. The park would be cut in half at the current S. Oxford Street entrance, with the area west of Oxford Street reforested and the park running between S. Oxford and Oakland Streets.
The other two proposals would have the park at around 55,000 square feet (Alternative 2A) or 47,000 square feet (Alternative 2B). Both incorporate a proposed, expanded portion of parkland along S. Oakland Street.
A spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation said that new plans are being explored for the dog park due to concerns around stormwater management. Jennie Dean Park and Shirlington Park are also being planned as part of the working group’s wider look at Four Mile Run’s future and a parks master planning process.
The possible reduction in size of the dog park is not quite as drastic a change as earlier rumors — that the county was planning to “move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it” — had suggested. It has, however, sparked loud opposition from supporters of the dog park on social media, including on the park’s unofficial Facebook page.
“Just out of curiosity, what happened to the chorus of reassurances we got from the board reps just a couple of weeks or months ago about them not touching the park?” wrote one supporter. “I don’t know what bothers me more; the fact they continue to push initiatives that put the park at risk or that they misled supporters to believe the park was safe as-is.”
An online petition against the proposal has garnered more than 1,000 signatures.
“4 Mile Run Shirlington Dog Park is the best dog park in Northern Virginia,” wrote one signee. “One of the biggest reasons is its current layout. The small dog area, the water access, and the lengthy, open run area, as well as the seating, provide the best experience. Please do not alter this dog park!”
“It is an all too rare NOVA stress reliever that should be protected, not changed or reduced in size,” wrote another.
A separate Facebook group has also been started dedicated to saving the dog park and energizing supporters.
Parks department spokeswoman Martha Holland said there are no “short term” plans to change the park, but didn’t rule out longer-term changes due to state water runoff rules.
“Currently there is no immediate funding or intention on changing the configuration of the Shirlington Dog Park in the short term, however as capital renovations happen in the future or significant maintenance is needed in the parks, state mandated stormwater management standards will need to addressed,” she said. “County staff is working with the County-Board appointed Four Mile Run Valley Working Group on developing a plan for the park to meet state requirements and community interests.”
“The county recognizes that the Shirlington Dog Park, one of eight Arlington County dog parks that residents and their pets enjoy, is a tremendous and much-beloved resource for the county and there has never been any intention to remove it from the area,” she said.
The County Board is set to adopt the parks master plan for the three parks early next year. Public input on the draft concepts will be taken in July.
Rumors of the Shirlington dog park’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated.
The latest round of drafts released by the county for the Four Mile Run Valley initiative include the park in the plans for Jennie Dean Park. Three alternatives put forward for a meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group held Tuesday night all include the dog park in some form.
The first option keeps the park as it is, while the second option proposed reconfiguring the dog park but keeping it the same size. The third alternative would also keep the dog park in place, but renovate it.
Notably, the second alternative would divide the dog park into two sections: one for larger animals and another for smaller.
The alternatives also make suggestions for programming to the west of South Nelson Street, which could include more arts and recreation space. It also suggests a number of amenities for the park in the site’s northeast corner, like sport courts, baseball fields, a playground and a trail. All three alternatives also propose adding to the site’s 136 existing parking spaces.
The park’s future had been the cause of some concern earlier this year on social media.
The Shirlington Dog Park Page cited a presentation of early land use proposals generated in January as part of the Four Mile Run Valley planning process. However, the presentation appeared to show that the area of the dog park is being considered generally for “outdoor parks/rec/cultural” uses — which could include a dog park.
“The County recognizes the popularity and importance of the Shirlington Dog Park and does not plan to move it from the park or the park plan,” division chief Chikwe Njoku wrote in an email to a dog park page subscriber last month.
“As part of any planning effort we have to do our due diligence and evaluate the existing site in addition to making recommendations on potential alternatives that are based on a variety of factors such as environmental regulations, overall design/impact, usage, and other County standards, then make recommendations that are discussed with the 4MRV Working Group who also takes input from the community.”
The Four Mile Run Valley Working Group will meet again March 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Park and Natural Resources Operations Building at 2700 S. Taylor St.
Arlington County, the page said, has a plan “to move the dog park and make it much smaller, or do away with it.” It’s unclear who exactly posted that on behalf of the page — there is no contact information on the page’s “About” section — but the reaction from its more than 2,500 fans was swift.
“Whaaaattt??? Noooo!!!!” and “This is bullshit. (Sorry for the language, but it’s that serious)” were typical responses.
“That’s insane,” said another person. “The dog park is one of the biggest draws of the area for people when considering places to live; plus, people come from all over to use it = lots of money into [Shirlington]!”
In all, there have been some 200 responses and comments on the post and another 175 shares, so far. It has been re-posted, separately, by concerned residents on a Fairlington neighborhood Facebook page and elsewhere around the social network.
The Shirlington Dog Park Page cites a source for its alarming assertion: a presentation of early land use proposals generated last month as part of the Four Mile Run Valley planning process. However, the presentation appears to show that the area of the dog park is being considered generally for “outdoor parks/rec/cultural” uses — which could well include a dog park.
Only one of seven alternative scenarios presented shows the dog park apparently replaced — by a “riparian zone” and a promenade.
Virginia Farris, a member of the Four Mile Run Valley working group who’s also active in the Shirlington Civic Association, offered one of the 75 comments on the Facebook post.
“There is no proposal from the County yet, nor will there be for awhile yet,” she wrote. “The Working Group meets twice a month and the planning process still has a long way to go. The Dog Park has solid supporters among Working Group members — it’s definitely not going to be closed!”
Her post received seven likes as more than a dozen additional comments from people upset about the possibility of the park closing followed. Dog park supporters, in the meantime, are being encouraged to write emails to all five County Board members, with some pledging to do so every day until they get a favorable response.
The page, and Farris, are also encouraging dog park supporters to attend a meeting of the working group Tuesday night. The meeting, scheduled from 7-10 p.m. on the second floor of 2700 S. Taylor Street, will include a discussion of the land use plans and a 15 minute public comment period at the end.
“If you come… you can expect to hear a lot of questions and push-back from the Working Group members on many aspects (including the dog park) of the second set of conceptual drawings,” Farris said.
County officials have struggled to respond to the rumors as they spread like wildfire, with thousands of Facebook users likely seeing the original dog park post.
The Dept. of Parks and Recreation did respond to the post, just an hour after it was first published (see gallery above), but the response was buried since it was made to a comment on the post rather than the post itself.
At 5:35 p.m. Tuesday evening, six hours after our first enquiry about plans for the dog park, a county spokesperson responded to ARLnow.com but did not directly address what was being considered.
“There will be four ideas proposed at tonight’s 4MRV meeting,” said Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “This is just a first step to get feedback. There will be another meeting solely on getting input on the dog park on March 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the Park Operations Building.”
A county webpage for the March meeting says it will “discuss opportunities for improvements to the Shirlington Dog Park as part of the overall 4MRV Parks Master Plan.”
“This is an opportunity to share your ideas for the dog park with DPR staff and learn more about the 4MRV park planning process,” the page said.
“To look at the bright side,” concluded Kalish, “there is obviously a lot of support for the dog park and we should be able to get lots of great input to make it better through the Parks Master Planning process.”
Arlington Sending Officers to Inauguration — Updated at 10:55 a.m. — The Arlington County Police Department is assigning “more than a hundred” officers to help with inauguration security on Friday. Like other local departments, ACPD will sending some of its officers to D.C. to assist the Metropolitan Police Department. Others will be assigned to Metro stations or areas where large crowds are expected. [WJLA]
Local Inauguration Day Event — A number of local nonprofits, from the Arlington Food Assistance Center to activist groups like Moms Demand Action, will be participating in an “alternative” Inauguration Day event at the Barcroft Community House. The event encourages attendees to “explore how you can get involved in their important causes” and “post your thoughts about how we, as citizens of Arlington, can work to further our common good as we face new tests to our society and democracy after Inauguration Day.” [ARLnow, Facebook]
Senators Hope New Administration Will Fund Bridge Repairs — Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have written a letter to two of president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, asking them to “do all in your power to see that the rehabilitation of Memorial Bridge is fully funded.” The senators note that the weight limit imposed on the bridge has forced some changes to inauguration plans. [Scribd]
Arlington Jeopardy Contestant Keeps Winning — Arlington resident John Avila, 30, again bested his fellow contestants on last night’s episode of Jeopardy, his second appearance on the show. Avila, an attorney, will face a high school physics teacher from Indiana and a writer from Brooklyn on tonight’s episode. [Sun Chronicle]
Small Dog Owners Want Separate Area of Dog Park — A group of owners of small dogs have proposed a separate small dog zone at the Fort Ethan Allen Park community canine area. There are currently two other dog parks in Arlington with separate small dog areas. [InsideNova]
Remembering Preston King — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark recounts the life and times of Preston King, for whom the Westover Post Office is named. King was killed while bailing out of his plane in the midst of a reconnaissance mission during World War II. [Falls Church News-Press]
There’s a new sign at the Shirlington dog park that states what should have been obvious: that riding a bike or a scooter through an area where dogs are running around off leash is a bad idea.
“It’s been an ongoing issue that we hope the sign will rectify,” said Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “We’ve noticed that people are riding bikes and scooters down the paved trail in Shirlington dog park. The off leash dogs get excited and chase, creating an unsafe environment for both man and beast.”
“As there are loads of trails in Arlington for bikes, we are asking people not to bring their bikes and scooters into the park to reduce the risk to park-goers,” Kalish added. “This… is an example of our ongoing work with the community to make Arlington parks fun and safe for all.”
The sign asks that anyone who spots a violation of the rules call Arlington’s park rangers at 703-525-0618.
The second annual Bark in the Park event will be taking place this Sunday, June 12, after being rescheduled due to anticipated storms last weekend.
The free event will be taking place at the James Hunter Dog Park, also known as the Clarendon dog park, from 3-6 p.m.
The event will feature live music by Americana group Caroline Ferrante and the Whole Magilla, bites from the Smoking Kow BBQ food truck, and plenty of activities and goodies for human children and four-legged “kids” alike. Dog exhibitors will also be on hand to answer any pet related questions.
There is still time to enter the event’s first annual “Cutest Pooch Contest.” Dog owners can upload a photo of their pup, while any animal lover can vote for their favorites. The winning entry will receive pet- and owner-appropriate prizes.