Oh Dog Park, Where Art Thou?

photo courtesy of Max

I moved to Dupont Circle in late 2003 which seems like an eternity ago.  Not much has changed in the neighborhood since then.  Some new restaurants have opened up on 17th street, property prices went way up and then slid back down again, and the “S street dog park” has turned into a barren, dusty, dirt bowl.

It may sound like I’m complaining about the park, which unofficially became a dog park when dog owners basically took it over.  It’s always been a point of contention (to say the least) in the neighborhood between dog owners and non dog owners.  In all honesty I, a dog owner, bought my condo partially so that my dog would have somewhere to play and poop right across the street from me.  However being a reasonable guy, I can see the non dog owners’ argument.  The park used to have beautiful green grass and nice trees, but it’s been reduced to a dirty field full of barking dogs – not exactly easy on the eyes or music to the ears.

There’s been talk ever since I moved there about turning it into a “real” dog park.  “Oh yeah, this fall the city is going to put up a fence and totally turn it into an off leash dog park.”

The fall came.  The fall went.  Still no dog park.

“Yeah, they didn’t have the funding to do it so it’s pushed off until next summer.”

The summer came.  The summer went.  Still a giant dust bowl.

Well low and behold, I was walking by the park a few days ago when I saw a shiny new sign promising a brand new day for us: “Improvements to S and T Street Parks are on the way!”  If you take a closer look you can see what they’re planning on doing in the “spring of 2009″.  It looks pretty sweet, but those CAD renderings always look better then the finished product.

Part of me is happy that the city is finally going to pony up some cash to spruce up the parks in my neighborhood, but another part of me is worried that people are going to come in droves from all over the city to use the new S Street Dog Park!!!  “Hey, have you been to the new dog park on S street?!  You should totally go check it out!”  Bark.  Bark.  Bark.

I haven’t decided whether it will help or hurt property values.  On one hand, dog owners might pay more money to live near a dog park.  On the other hand, other people may not want to live anywhere near it, limiting the number of potential buyers.

Regardless, I think it’s a move in the right direction.  What do you think DC?

Hailing from the Mile High City, Max has also lived in Tinsel Town, the Emerald City, as well as the City of Brotherly Love. Now a District resident, he likes to write about cool photos by local photographers, the DC restaurant and bar scene, or anything else that pops into his mind.

13 thoughts on “Oh Dog Park, Where Art Thou?

  1. Since the alternative is to keep having people leave dog crap in alleyways and on sidewalks, I’m all for it! Huzzah and such!

  2. “In all honesty I, a dog owner, bought my condo partially so that my dog would have somewhere to play and poop right across the street from me.”

    We have that same mentality in my Alexandria condo development. It seems people there don’t understand that unleashed dogs are against the condo rules and city law. Meanwhile, the playground area in a minefield and loose dogs have nearly knocked over pregnant women. Building dog parks just rewards bad behavior.

  3. On the contrary, building fenced-in, dedicated dog parks encourages dog owners to use THEM and non dog owners to go elsewhere. In this case I believe the T street park (right across the street) is for humans only. We’ll see how that works out.

  4. Doesn’t DC have a leash law? Building separate parks because dog owners break the law seems to be rewarding bad behavior to me.

  5. “…another part of me is worried that people are going to come in droves from all over the city to use the new S Street Dog Park!!!”

    Perhaps a bit overstated? The fact that there are existing, fully fenced dog parks elsewhere in the city – one as close as 11th and R – argues against this outcome.

  6. That’s one way of looking at it I suppose, from a non dog owner’s perspective. You could also say that DC is providing a safe, fun place for people to spend time with their pets. Every major city in the US has dog parks, so DC isn’t special in that regard. If anything it’s late to the game.

    DC also has laws against talking on your cell phone while driving, jaywalking, panhandling, etc – all of which are rarely enforced. Maybe they should build a park dedicated to panhandlers.

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