The city of Washington, D.C. is making a bid of $2.1 million to purchase and preserve a dog park in Columbia Heights, a move which has drawn criticism from experts, according to an AP report.
The park is situated on a small plot of land at Park and 11th in Northwest on a property of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency (WMATA) which is selling the plot. The dog park is thronged by dog lovers in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. The dog park users are asking the council to offer a bid at the market rate of $2.1 million to buy the property and save the dog park. The bids are due by the end of this month, according to The Washington Post.
However, the critics are questioning the city’s decision to spend millions of dollars to buy a dog park at a time when this taxpayer money could be utilized for more urgent issues like meeting the housing needs of the District residents.
— WUSA9 (@wusa9) February 7, 2019
According to Kent C. Boese, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, the city should look at other cheaper alternatives like changing the location of the park.
In a co-written article published by the Greater Greater Washington, Nick Finio, Associate Director of the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Alex Baca, the engagement director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, argued that the multi-million dollar bid placed by the city on the land for a dog park is “unethical.”
“Spending $2.1 million to preserve a luxury good, when there’s great potential for more homes for people, is an inappropriate rallying cry,” the authors pointed out, adding that favoring dogs over potential demand for homes of people reflects a “suburban and rural norm, not that of a city.”
Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said the bid might not even be successful. He wished though that it didn’t cost as much to acquire the dog park that needs to be preserved. According to Nadeau, the space requires renovations so that it continues to function as a dog park.