Opinion: Dog Parks Aren't a Priority in a Housing Crisis

"Should DC spend about $2 million on a parcel of land in Columbia Heights to build a dog park?"

1 minute read

January 27, 2019, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Dog Park

Jon Hurd / Flickr

Alex Baca and Nick Finio write an opinion piece on the controversial role of dog parks in housing-impacted urban neighborhoods.

In this case, the proposed dog park would be located on an empty 7,335 square-foot parcel owned by the WMATA and located at 11th Street and Park roads NW in Washington, D.C. Empty for 20 years, the WMATA has allowed people to use the parcel as a dog park since 2009.

"WMATA, which still faces budget shortages, is selling surplus land like this parcel to generate more revenue," according to the article. "In May, the DC Council included $1.5 million to purchase the property from WMATA in its FY2019 budget. The market value is estimated to be closer to $2.1 million. Now that it's officially up for sale, dog park users are urging the council to offer to pay the market rate—$2.1 million—to buy the parcel."

Still, the authors consider the proposition of building a dog park with tax payer money is a housing-constrained city to present a moral quandary that they just can't abide. "Despite our affection toward animals, we believe that spending scarce city funds to preserve this particular parcel as as [sic] dog park is a bad idea, particularly if there’s any chance of this land being used to build more homes for people," write Baca and Finio.

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