Earlier this week, District Parks and Recreation officials locked the gated patch of grass next to the Bruce Monroe Community Garden and attached signs to the gates barring dogs.
Almost immediately after the signs went up, Columbia Heights resident Dave Bobeck started a Facebook page called “Save the Bruce Monroe Community Park Dog Run,” which has already garnered 60 members. The problem, Bobeck said, is that he’s not sure who they’re saving their makeshift dog park from.
“I’m not really sure if there was pressure or where it’s coming from to keep dogs out,” Bobeck said. “Obviously somebody cared enough to send enough emails that they put up the signs, so somebody out there is opposed to this, but we haven’t heard who or why.”
Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman John Stokes told DCist that the area was chained off because it was not a legitimate dog park. In fact, said Stokes, the plot is officially designated as a stormwater management area for the community garden.
Still, Bobeck said he and his neighbors are trying to get the signs removed so their dogs can use the area again. Bobeck said he’d at least like the chance to respond to whatever opposition the makeshift park has run into.
“People having been using that as a place to run their dogs for basically as long as the community garden has been there,” he said. “It’s been uncontested as far as I know and we want to restore access to that immediately if possible. Failing that, we’d at least like to know what the issues are with the dog run use and have a chance to address those issues.”
But a resolution may come soon. ANC 1A Commissioner Rashida Brown told members of the Facebook group that she is working to schedule a meeting next week to bring together dog owners and DPR officials who closed the area. Bobeck said that one member of the Facebook group is working on submitting the applications to DPR for an official dog park, but added that he doesn’t think there is a need to spend money building an official dog park when owners have been happily using this plot for years.
“Some people are talking about development and an official dog park in the future, but if it comes down to public funds going to that or to some better cause, by all means let them go to a better cause,” he said. “Just open that area back it, it won’t cost anybody anything.”
Photo via Facebook/ Save The Bruce Monroe Community Park Dog Run