All Good Things Must End

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Takoma Park has over 4,250 dogs. Yet at least three citizen requests to build a park for humans with canine companions previously failed. So in 2012, Joe Edgell and Dr. Barbara Muhlbacher started an effort to raise community awareness of the need for an off-leash park, and spur the City Council and City Manager to act and build one (TakomaDogs incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2014).

Creation of the Takoma Park Dog Park is a lesson in citizen activism. Over 1500 people signed the petition to create the dog park (over 1200 at the time of our City Council presentation), overcoming a handful of NIMBY opponents who did not want a city for all communities, including those who’ve rescued canine companions. A core groups of supporters organized and pushed City Council and staff to build the dog park, and after nearly five years of effort, we were successful! Takoma Park now has it’s first and only dog park, opened on April 2, 2017.

TakomaDogs founders Dr. Barbara Muhlbacher & Joe Edgell

TakomaDogs founders Dr. Barbara Muhlbacher & Joe Edgell

With dog park creation, interest in TakomaDogs has wained. With its founders moving to the Puget Sound area, there is no one to keep the organization active. So it is with a mix of sadness and pride that we are closing down the website and terminating the 501(c)(3) status of TakomaDogs. On June 29, 2019, the website will expire and TakomaDogs will cease to exist.

Anyone interested in buying the website and domain name should reach out to Joe here. Historic Takoma is receiving an archive of the website, the banner, a TakomaDogs t-shirt, and our City Council presentation so this effort is preserved for posterity sake.

Visit the dog park at this location.

Woof!

Reminder: Sign Up for 4th of July Parade (Meet at 9:30)

Don't forget TakomaDogs has a float in this year's Takoma Park 4th of July Parade to celebrate the opening of the dog park and we want YOU to join us.

We're meeting on South Manor Circle near the intersection of South Manor Circle & Carroll Avenue. We're assembling at 9:30 a.m. for the 10:00 parade start on July 4.

So we can get an estimate of how many people are walking with us, please sign up here or in the form, below.

Weather for the parade should be seasonable for this time of year.  Please bring a bottle of water for you and your pooch. We'll try to tweet more info on the weather as we get closer, so follow the TakomaDogs Twitter feed.

We want everyone to come out and celebrate the opening of the dog park with us whether you have a dog or not. Bring your kids, your friends, your parents, or anyone else. Never walked in the parade, now's your chance! You do NOT need a dog to walk with us.

This year we'll be joined by candidate for Ward 2 City Council Joe Edgell. Take the opportunity to share your thoughts on Ward 2 issues with Joe.

Do you plan to walk in the Takoma Park 4th of July Parade with TakomaDogs? *
Name *
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Please type a cell phone number for last-minute updates
Please type a cell phone number for last-minute updates
Are you interested in buying a t-shirt? *

Still Looking for Grant Writer – June 30 Deadline Approaching

Please help bring water to the dog park!

Please help bring water to the dog park!

We mentioned on May 20 that we needed a grant writer for the PetSafe Brand grant to help us provide water at the dog park. But no one volunteered.

The deadline is fast approaching on June 30, so if you can help out, please contact us at info@takomadogs.org.

Here's the original post with a bit more info.

Grant Writer Needed

If you fancy yourself to be  a good, persuasive writer, we need someone to help with a grant application. We're seeking funding to install shade in the dog park and/or a water supply for the dogs. This year, PetSafe Brand will award 25 grants totaling $275,000 to help cities build new dog parks and provide makeovers or maintenance for existing parks. We think our shade and water projects make good candidates.

Please email info@takomadogs.org if you would like to volunteer to write this grant. Grant application deadline is June 30, 2017, but we would like to get our application in much sooner.

Mark Your Calendars for July 4 & Come Walk

Can you guess what we're working on for this year's 4th of July Parade float?

TakomaDogs is once again walking in the Takoma Park 4th of July Parade, and we need you!

Bring your dog, your kids, your parents, and anyone else and join us at 9:45 a.m. on July 4, 2017 for the 10:00 a.m. start. In past years, TakomaDogs met on Manor Circle near the intersection of South Manor Circle and Carroll Avenue.

Please sign up here to join us in the parade.

We're currently constructing this year's super-secret float (see photo). Last year's float took 2nd price in the parade and we hope this year's float will be in contention again. Float construction is again being led by Dr. Barbara Muhlbacher, TakomaDogs board member. If you would like to help her with the float, please email her at barbara@muhlbacher.us.

When you come to the parade, don't forget to wear your TakomaDogs t-shirt. If you do not have one, click this link to buy one now. We will also bring a few shirts that you can purchase at the parade, but it would be helpful if you would use the sign up form linked below and let us know what size you want. There are only limited numbers of shirts left, so get your collector's item now to show your support for the Takoma Park dog park.

Llama Mediation

The pro- and anti-llama camps were out in force today at Historic Takoma in Takoma Park, to wrestle over whether llamas are appropriate in the dog park.

Mayor Kate Stewart, the star of the Llama mediation session was a great sport when she figured out that it was, in fact, an April Fool's joke. Be wary any time something happens on April 1, Kate!

Here are a few photos of the session:

Don't Forget: Dog Park Opens Sunday at 1:30 p.m.!

The dog park opening celebration kicks off Sunday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m., rain or shine. Bring your dog, wear your TakomaDogs t-shirt (outside your coat if it's cold!), and feel free to bring colorful paraphernalia. Don't have a dog? Still come out and celebrate this awesome new community resource.

There will be veterinarians to chat with, doggie schwag to covet, and you can even pick up your very own Support the Dog Park t-shirt, if you do not have one. After all the speeches, the park will be open for your and fido's enjoyment, so please join us!

Dog park location. Click map for a larger map.

Dog park location. Click map for a larger map.

The dog park is located at the top of Takoma-Piney Branch Park at the end of the parking lot on Darwin Avenue. On Google Maps the address comes out at 198 Darwin Ave. Apple Maps doesn't yet handle the address properly, so type 14 Darwin Ave. into your iPhone, then walk past the address into the parking lot.

Parking is extremely limited, so we encourage you to walk to the park or park behind the Community Center in the Community Center parking lot near the library. We cannot guarantee that there will be parking at the dog park.

We've reported the map issue to Apple and hope they will make their correction soon. Click the map at the right to load a larger map from Google.

Elimination of the Low Activity/Small Dog Area

TakomaDogs Chief Designer, architect Eric Saul, originally designed the dog park with a low activity/small dog area. The area was to be used by older larger dogs who didn't really want to rough house, and small dogs that were not comfortable playing with the big dogs.

Unfortunately the TakomaDogs proposal for a second area did not survive city review.....

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Thank a Council Member

Click the big red button to send a thank you note to the City Council.

Click the big red button to send a thank you note to the City Council.

We've updated the Take Action Page. Now you can send a thank-you note to the City Manager, Mayor, and each of the City Council members.

Tell them you appreciate them opening the dog park, and urge them to consider some less expensive, neighborhood parks that people can walk to.

Visit the Take Action page to get started.

Dog Park Grand Opening Set for 1:30 p.m., April 2!

The City announced today a dog park grand opening date! Plan to be at the dog park on Sunday, April 2 at 1:30 pm. Bring your dog, your kids, your cat, but come and celebrate with us!

Meet at the dog park, which is located at the top of Takoma-Piney Branch Park at the end of the parking lot on Darwin Avenue. On Google Maps the address comes out at 198 Darwin Ave. Click here for a map. Apple Maps doesn't handle the address properly, so plug in 14 Darwin Ave. into your iPhone, then drive past the address into the parking lot.

Bring your dog, wear your TakomaDogs t-shirt (outside your coat if it's 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.

Anticipated Opening by April 2

In recent communications with the City, they mentioned that they are anticipating that work will be completed by the end of March. We are hopeful that we can have a grand opening soon thereafter.

We requested that the City consider a grand opening date of Sunday, April 2. Please block it off on your calendars in the hopes that this will be the official date. And please check back with the website to get confirmation on the opening date.

Week 20: Getting Close!

The past two weeks brought additional rock placement and concrete pouring. It appears that the only remaining item if fence installation and a small amount of concrete work so that wheelchairs can get from the parking lot into the park.

Below are a few photos shot this weekend. More photos at the Construction photo gallery.

Benches awaiting installation on the concrete pads, shown as the round circles in the rear of the photo.

Decorative rocks. A bit too small to be much of a play structure for dogs, but provide some visual breakup of the surface.

Stormwater control trench and drain at the top of the park.

The main play area.

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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