During the pandemic shut down in 2020, all organized sports at the baseball fields came to a halt. During this time of social isolation, many came to use the baseball fields as a safe space to run their dogs. The park eventually placed “no dog” signs at the entrance of the fields and used heavy chains and locks to prevent people from entering. This didn’t stop people from using their park and fields to exercise their dogs in a safe way in a large expanse of unused space.
It was during this time that the need for a dog park became evident. A group of neighbors are currently working together to envision what a dog park could be in order to present their plan to the city. They held their first meeting on August 28th, 2022. After hearing community feedback, the group in attendance felt the eastern baseball field (decommissioned) would be the best place to put a dog park to address concerns about noise and location.
The group created a survey and distributed it via social media, flyering door to door, and placing QR codes in the park.
On April 16 2023, the Friends group heard community feedback about the placement of the potential dog park and decided that the baseball fields were not the right place for a dog park. The Infrastructure Committee is exploring other locations in the park that would be appropriate for a dog park.
In October 2022, the Friends of Fonticello Park circulated a survey about the placement of a potential dog park (results). The need for a dog park had already been established after reviewing the comments on the Master Plan and the Parks and Rec survey (Sept 2022). This survey asked where people would like to see a dog park placed from the options devised by the committee. The results were fairly split between the two designs, with several people asking “why not go bigger”.
The Board felt the demographics of survey respondents was not inclusive or representative of the community. There have been discussions about how to solicit more inclusive feedback. At the March 2023 meeting, a group of dog owners showed up to the meeting to advocate for the dog park as a safety issue. Several dogs escaped the ball fields in March were running through the park and in the road. The Board will hear community feedback about a dog park at the April meeting.
FRIENDS OF FONTICELLO PARK
2715 Bainbridge Street
Richmond, VA 23225
© 2023 Friends of Fonticello Park, Richmond, Virginia. The Friends of Fonticello Park is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.