City Sprints Toward Completion

Compare this picture:

Shot February 6, 2017.

To this picture:

Shot February 20, 2017.

These were taken about two weeks apart. As you can see, the City's contractor has now installed the crushed stone play surface and about two-thirds of the artificial turf for the hillside. If progress continues at this pace, we would expect completion by the end of March.

The City apparently did not install K9 grass as originally discussed, but instead has installed some other brand. From talking with the contractor, we are led to believe that it might be Pup Grass, but we're not certain. We've asked the City for more information so that we can ensure it's free of heavy metals and safe for dogs to play on.

Also, the crushed stone surface has far more dust than hoped, so it might be a bit dusty for dogs to play on. We know that it is possible to get a crushed stone surface that's low dust, but that material costs more. It's our thought that in order to save money, the City did not specify a low-dust content crushed stone.

The City spent a bunch of extra money on this dog park addressing stormwater runoff from the school, as well as regrading the slope. The other locations TakomaDogs specified would have been substantially cheaper to develop. The City believed, however, that this location would be quicker to develop since it was entirely City ownership. That proved to be an incorrect assumption. Despite this error, we are nonetheless happy to see this proceeding forward.

We've asked City staff to pin down a new grand opening date. We will post that here when we have it. In the meantime, please check out the Construction Photo Gallery with the latest photos of the work.

Bad News

Just when we thought we were getting a dog park, we find that it's being delayed. Late last week we heard from City Manager Suzie Ludlow about a snag they encountered.

According to the City Manager, installation of K9 Grass requires several days of above 50 degree temperatures, something that are rare in DC during the winter. Of course, this issue would not have arisen if the City had begun construction during the summer or fall as we urged, but there's not much we can do about that now.

This will likely necessitate a delay in the grand opening until sometime in the spring. Check back to TakomaDogs.org for regular updates. The City Manager's full email message is below.....

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End of Construction Week 5

The dog park layout is finally beginning to take shape. One can see the main play area, the stormwater control features, and even what appears to be one of the rock play features.

Compare end-of-week-4's panoramic shot:

To this week's panoramic shot:

While it may not appear that a huge amount of work has been done, the stormwater control features are finished and the overall footprint seems to be firmed up, including what appears to be a play feature. We expect minimal dirt moving from this point forward and work should be in prepping the surfaces for the final surfaces.

Here are the photos from this week's work. Click them to expand them.

Terraced stormwater control feature that captures runoff from the Middle School tennis courts.

The light-colored area is the basic play area for dogs. This shot from the berm at the end of the park.

This appears to be some sort of rock play feature for the dogs.

 

Check out all the construction photos in our Construction Gallery.

The stormwater "outfalls."  These do not drain water from the park, but rather carry water from above the park that runs off of school property under the dog park so that it does not damage the park.

Mark Your Calendars for Grand Opening!

The City and TakomaDogs met this week to discuss many things, including a tentative date for the grand opening ceremony. The ceremony is currently set for Sunday, January 29 at 2:00 p.m.

We will meet in the parking lot behind the Takoma Park Community Center at 7500 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park with our dogs and City officials. We plan to have a dog parade the short distance between the Community Center rear parking lot and the new dog park. We're meeting in the rear parking lot, not the front lot.

Bring your dog, wear your TakomaDogs t-shirt (outside your coat because it's likely to be cold!), and feel free to bring colorful, parade-worthy paraphernalia and noise makers. Don't have a dog? Still come out and celebrate this new awesome community resource.

Should the weather be awful, there is a backup date of Sunday, February 5. The date could also slip due to construction delays.

 

Excavation Majorly Underway

The Public Works Director wasn't kidding. As soon as they received the thumbs-up from the County permits folks, they planned to begin excavation. And excavate they did! Mid week most of the vegetation was gone and they were still moving dirt around, as you can see from this panoramic photo.

But by today, all the vegetation was gone and dirt moving had largely ceased, as you can see from the panoramic photo, below. You can view all the latest progress in our Construction photo gallery.

Thank the City Manager & City Council

Click here  to visit the  Take Action Page  and send a letter to City Council and the City Manager thanking them for beginning construction of the dog park.

Click here to visit the Take Action Page and send a letter to City Council and the City Manager thanking them for beginning construction of the dog park.

We've updated our Take Action Page with a letter where you can thank the City Manager and City Council Members for beginning construction of the dog park.

The new letter urges them to complete construction and get the park open this year. It also urges them to begin thinking about the location of several walkable, small, community-based dog parks that would be located in neighborhoods throughout the City.

We proposed these community parks when we proposed the anchor park now being constructed. These new parks would be small and able to accommodate about 5 - 10 neighborhood dogs at a time. They would allow neighbors to quickly get their dogs exercise before heading off to work. And most importantly, they would be very inexpensive to construct.

You can send Council and the City Manager the new letter by clicking here or visiting our Take Action Page.

Construction Really Began Today....Really!

We know you were skeptical. We know you didn't think it would happen. But it did. The City actually began dog park construction today!

City & contractor vehicles begin work on the first City dog park!

We'll be periodically posting progress photos in our Construction photo gallery. Make sure you periodically check back to see what's new by clicking here. We shot a few photos from this morning's erosion-control fencing installation. This fencing is necessary to minimize dirt runoff from the site in the event of rain.

According to City Public Works Director Daryl Braithwaite, the real excavation work gets started next week after the erosion-control fencing is inspected and tree removal takes place.

Dog Park Construction Starts Thursday!

Miracle of miracles!

The City Manager announced at tonight's City Council meeting that work will start on Takoma Park's first dog park tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 8:00 a.m.! This is great news. We were beginning to think this would never happen.

Just two weeks ago the Mayor approached us about potentially sponsoring a public demonstration at the County Parks department since County Parks was dragging its feet on giving us a signed access agreement, even though we received word that it was being approved. Now, just two weeks later, construction will start. A kudos to the City for moving this along.

Several supporters asked if the City was doing a groundbreaking ceremony. The City decided not to do a groundbreaking ceremony because they didn't want to delay the construction start once they received the access agreement. The City is using an existing contract to have the park built rather than competing a new contract, so they can start very quickly simply by giving the existing contractor notice to proceed. The City expects construction to take about 45 days. If the weather cooperates, we'll have a dog park open by the end of the year.

City staff will coordinate with Takoma Dogs on a formal grand opening ceremony. We will post details here and encourage everyone to come and enjoy this momentous day for you and your four-legged companions!

Dog Park Receives All Necessary County Permits

Good news dog park supporters!

image courtesy jaykubassek.com

image courtesy jaykubassek.com

When former City Manager Brian Kenner chose the dog park location from our list of suggested locations, he chose because the site would require no county approvals as it was City property, even though the site itself was expensive to develop. That meant things could move along lickety-split. But more than two years later we were still waiting on........ County permits!

But tonight faithful supporters, current City Manager Suzie Ludlow announced at the City Council meeting that the City had obtained the last of the required permits, this being an access agreement to use the County-owned parking lot to access the City dog park. This means there are no more obstacles to beginning dog park construction!

She also mentioned that a pre-construction meeting is set between City staff and the City's contractor for September 20.  Further, she mentioned that the construction should take about 45 days to complete, once they break ground. What she did not mention, however, was a planned ground-breaking date. Stay tuned for the date, which we'll post as soon as we find out.

Ward 2 Council Member Tim Male echoed prior TakomaDogs sentiment that there should be a formal ground-breaking ceremony. I expect that the City will take that to heart and announce something soon. We hope to participate in the ceremony and encourage you to attend.

With any luck, we might even see a dog park by the end of 2016.

 

Upcoming Doggie Events

Blessing of the Animals
All Souls Unitarian Church (1500 Harvard St NW, DC) will have a non-denominational "Blessing of the Animals" this Sunday, Aug 28, 10:15am. Refreshments will be served on the south lawn after the service,  followed by an optional walk for pets and people to nearby Meridian Hill.  Bring water and poop bags.

 

Happy Hour
Commiserate about the dog days of summer at the regular last-Sunday-of-the-month Yappy Hour at Republic (6939 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park).  Dogs and their human friends can come and socialize on the back porch at Republic, 3-5 pm.  There will be food and drink specials.  Republic hosts Yappy Hour the last Sunday of each month through October.

 

Pooch Pool Party
Montgomery County will have its annual Pooch Pool Party, Sept 10 and 11, 11am-3pm, at the Wheaton-Glenmont Pool, 12621 Dalewood Dr, Wheaton, 20906.  Before they close the pool for the season, they open it for canines to swim and splash for a weekend.  Cost: $10, plus proof of current vaccination. Preregistration via the MoCo Recreation website (Sat: Course #20973, Sun: Course #20974): http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec/Resources/Files/publications/currentguide.pdf 

Thanks to Board Member Stacy Gilbert for the heads up of these events!

Tentative Good News

Today TakomaDogs inquired about the dog park status. According to City Manager Suzie Ludlow, "We have the permit from MNCPPC and expect to have the MOU with MNCPPC done in the coming week. Then we'll be able to get a timeline and get the word out."

July 31, the dog park space is again overgrown with brush after three community efforts to clean it. The City hopes to start construction soon, however.

July 31, the dog park space is again overgrown with brush after three community efforts to clean it. The City hopes to start construction soon, however.

While the City cannot currently commit to a timeline to break ground, we're really hopeful that shovels will turn in August. If they do, you'll be one of the first to know by checking the website. We're also hoping to have a groundbreaking ceremony and have asked the City about that.

Here's to keeping our finger's crossed!