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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dog Park Redesign - Add Your Voice!

Arlington County is currently engaged in a redesign of the park space at 13th and Herndon Streets (currently the Clarendon Dog Park and the empty corner). The County’s Clarendon Sector Plan provides the requirement to redesign the park space to accommodate both the dog park and other public activities.

Proposed Master Design Unveiled

Clarendon Dogs representatives and other dog park users attended the unveiling of the county’s Preliminary Master Plan for the redesign of the on September 25, 2007. Members of the Arlington County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources (PRCR) design staff presented the proposed master design for the park’s future state. Residents from Lyon Village neighborhood and the Hartford Condominium also attended the meeting.

Clarendon Dogs Thoughts on the Design

Overall, Clarendon Dogs was very impressed with the proposed design, which incorporates natural features of the lot, preserves the length of the dog park (which Arlington County refers to as a Canine Community Area or CCA), and provides for green space and demonstration gardens. Under this design, the dog park would encompass 50.3% of the entire lot (which would include the currently unused corner). Clarendon Dogs was also pleased the design included a terraced plaza with water feature, proposed for outside of the dog park area. A water source would be included inside the dog park for hydration purposes.

Utilizing the natural grade (slope) of the current lot, Arlington County is proposing to gradually recess, following the natural grade of the land, the dog park area from planned entrances on the 13th street side towards the Hartford condo building. To accommodate the plaza terrace, the graded dog park would have a retaining wall, with the fence built on top. People on the plaza would look out and over the dog park from their elevated position. The recess would likely be between 3 to 6 feet, and during the design process, appropriate measures would be taken to accommodate for drainage.

Sound mitigation measures were also taken into consideration in accordance with the concerns of Hartford condo and Lyon Village neighbors, as well as the acoustic evaluation the county had completed on the park. Sound mitigation may include clear sound barriers or walls, soft surfacing for the dog park, and utilizing native plant life to limit possible visual stimulation of dogs from people/dogs outside the dog park.

Add Your Voice - Comment on the Design!

Please let the county know you support the design! Please review the plan and submit your comments.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dog Park Action Alert

Your help is needed! Please read through the below details (and bear with us - we know this is a lengthy email, but there is a lot to say) and submit your comments on the future design of the Clarendon Dog Park to Arlington County by Tuesday, May 1st. Your participation is critical if we are to impress upon the county our concerns about their designs.

Arlington County has developed three proposals for the configuration of the space at 13th Street and Herdon. These proposed designs are the next step, now that at least part of the area has been designated an official Arlington County Community Canine Area (CCA).

The following are some of the concerns or goals we believe most CCA users share. If you agree with them, it would be helpful if you included some or all of them into your comments, so that the parks department will understand they are dealing with a unified group here. Please note these points are only for guidance, and we are not trying to tell you (a particularly well-educated and articulate group of people!) what to say or how to say it!

1) SPACE: The county has called for the park to be "approximate one half" of the size of the lot at 13th and Herdon, or about 16,000 square feet. The phrase "about half" could also mean a little more than half, not something that the county appeared to consider. A CCA which is significantly less than 16,000 square feet (such as the ones outlined in plans 2 & 3, which were developed due to a misreading of the Clarendon sector plan**) would not meet this goal. We have significant concerns about a CCA that is only some 10,000 square feet. Such a limited space would compact the community of dogs into a much smaller area than they are used to, and, we believe, would lead to more barking and, potentially, more fights. That would be extremely detrimental to our sincere and concerted efforts to try and minimize the noise from the park for the neighbors. Also, as a part of the space issue, we believe that the park needs to be quite long, to allow humans and their dogs to get good exercise playing fetch, and it also needs to include a section for those dogs and humans who don't want to be in that traffic.

2) COMMUNITY: As one of our members so beautifully stated, the CCA isn't just for dogs. It really is a community of people, both those who bring their dogs to the park for exercise and socialization and those who come to watch the dogs as they play. The CCA is a valuable community resource that helps strengthen the Clarendon community as a whole. People at the park gather together and socialize every day, discussing community events, sports, development, politics -- local and national, while we watch our dogs and pick up after them. We are a community of people with dogs. These interactions help neighbors to get to know each other and to build a sense of community. The social aspect of the CCA also helps enforce the basic rules of dog ownership such as cleaning up after one's dog and always controlling one's dog's behavior and sharing behavior and growth training tips.

3) BUFFER: We believe there is strong agreement among the community and CCA supporters about the need for a buffer all the way around the CCA, not just one portion of it. CCA supporters want to minimize our conflicts with the neighbors on all sides. Such a buffer could be green: trees, etc. None of the current proposals incorporate a balanced buffer zone around the entire park.

Those are the main points. Additionally, we have heard support for:
1) positioning the park so that it gets maximum sunlight throughout the year;
2) creating an area within the CCA which could be used for small dogs (it would be critical that this be a structure that could be used when desired and open to other dogs when not needed);
3) An area for those who would like to watch the dogs at play from outside the park would be a good use of space;
4) A water feature could be fun;5) the draft Clarendon sector plan calls for the other use for the park area to be a "passive" use. One of the best ways to meet this goal would be to use the non-CCA space for demonstration gardens (butterfies or birds) or something like that., which could also function as a buffer;
6) A canopy for rain or sun (for the humans) might be nice;

Comments can be submitted electronically or printed and sent via snail mail to the county administrators. All comments must be received by the parks department by close of business May 1st. If you support the CCA and want to ensure its continued vitality, it is critical that you tell the parks department what you think. It is clear from the design proposal meeting that members of the Lyon Village will be participating, so it is crucial that we make sure CCA supporters' voices are heard.

Please click here to provide your comments. This site also includes pictures and descriptions of the proposed park plans.

Again, we apologize for the length of this message. Please don't forget to go to Arlington County and make your voice heard!
Thank you,
Clarendon Dogs

** At the meeting on April 17, Arlington County unveiled three proposals for the configuration of the space at 13th Street and Herdon. Only the first design would provide roughly 50 percent of the space for the dog park, while the other two would have reduced the dog park to 1/3 of the current space. These designs were evidently based on a misreading of the Clarendon sector plan, which calls for approximately half the space to be used as a Community Canine Area (not 1/3). We believe the county’s parks department has been convinced they made a mistake. Unfortunately, the three concept designs, with only the first including 50% of the space for the CCA, are still on the Arlington County parks website. Clarendon dogs believes CCA supporters need to continue to weigh in on how the space should be used.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

CDogs Celebrate Clarendon Day 2006!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Clarendon Day Dog booth, to everyone who donated ($87 worth), and to all the pooches who gave up their last shred of dignity to let us get their photo. Bruce did a great job making the costume scene and helping (ah-hem) the dogs pose. Check all the shots in the 2006 Clarendon (Dog) Day Photo Gallery!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Karma Turns One!

Click on the image to join Karma and her guests at her first birthday party.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

K-9 Krewe of Barkus Ready for the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade

The K-9 Krewe of Barkus is once again marching in the Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade on February 28th. Dress up Rex in his finest and Duchess in her pearls and join us at the pawty.

This year the parade will start at 8:00 PM at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and Barton St. and proceed down Wilson to Highland St.

Our pre-parade staging area is the front yard of a.k.a. Spot, 2509 N. Franklin Rd. at 7:45 PM. (1/2 block from the start).

Information about the parade and the Clarendon Alliance can be found at http://clarendon.org/mardi.html

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Park Designs Uninspired

The second public planning meeting for the 13th Street Park (aka the Dog Park), Central Park and the Metro Canopy was held on 6/14/05. There was a fairly good showing of dog park users, as well as neighbors concerned about the dog park and park plans in general.

There was a general concensus that the concepts presented by HoK for all three sites were uninspired and failed to fit the character of Clarendon. Furthermore, all concerned with the 13th Street park (both dog park users and neighbors) agreed that the concepts presented for the multi-use park failed to meet the functional requirements previously expressed.

Several neighbors strongly expressed their concerns and complaints about the dog park. The main complaints are as follows:
  • Barking
  • Illegal parking
  • Dogs off-leash outside the park
  • Visual appearence of the park
  • Perception that no one is enforcing rules
  • Failure to involve and inform neighborhood representatives
Although it is tempting to say that the complaints are overstated and just an effort to stop the plans for a Community Canine Area (CCA), that would be a serious mistake. The reality is that the dog park is part of the neighborhood and, to many, not a desired part. It is our responsibility to hear the concerns of our neighbors and to show our committment to being good neighbors by taking appropriate actions to address them. Most of the neighbors at the meeting appeared ready to at least tolerate the dog park, and seemed willing to work with us.

Please help to insure that a substantial portion of the 13th street site remains a dog park by respecting our neighbors, following all the rules of a CCA, and reminding others to do the same.

See you at the park.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Madison CCA Relocation Progresses

As Clarendon Dogs begins the planning process to becoming a CCA, our sister sponsor organization, MadDogs, is nearing the end of plans for the relocation of the Madison Dog Park and the design of the new park. If anyone is interested in seeing the architecutral plans of what sounds like a very well designed dog park, there will be a public meeting at 7 pm, Wed. June 22 in the Cherrydale Room of the Madison Community Center, 3829 N. Stafford Street. Perhaps we can get some useful ideas.