GRANOLAPARK: It’s like drinking

Dog park proponents want one dog park now, and another two, eventually.


Dear Readers,

The pesticide ban is half-passed.

The Takoma Park city council has two votes for most things. It’s like drinking. The first one is just to lay a foundation, and to fine-tune the taste. Maybe you ask for less ice and more rum in the second one. What’s the point of having anything BUT rum in there, anyway?

The second one has the desired effect.

Same with the city council votes. The first vote to lay a foundation and ask for fine tuning. The second vote to get drunk. Or, whatever.

The second vote comes up next Monday, July 22. It’s almost certain it will pass and become law.


And then, depending on where you stand, you will revel in victory or decry the greenanny state.

Safe Grow

Safe Grow Zone Initiative activists Catherine Cummings and Julie Taddeo, authors of the resolution before the city council.

Whatever your opinion, your tax dollars will be funding this venture.

It’s not so much – they CLAIM only $15,000 for the first year, and eventually $25,000 annually. That’s a bit less than the cost of a drink per household.

But, those drinks add up.  Each little drink is only a few dollars, but when that bar tab arrives and it exceeds your credit card limit, and the cops show up, and they pull out their tasers, and then there’s bail, court costs, lawyers . . . well, let’s just say that bill gets a little high.

Park your dog

Speaking of adding to the bill. Here come the dog park people, the latest One Issue Wonders. Their projects don’t cost a lot extra, either. Oh, sure, have another, it’s only another fiver.

The dog park people say their project would cost from approximately $13,400, to $33,5000. That’s for ONE park. They’d eventually like to see 3 parks.

Dog park supporters in the July 4th, 2013 parade.

Dog park supporters in the July 4th, 2013 parade.

We’ll give them credit, we’ll even give them kudos (whoever a kudos is) for facing the cost issue from the start. That’s unlike the Safe Grow activists who dealt with the cost issue by putting their fingers in their ears and yelling “pesticides are EVIL.”

Public/private proposal

What a contrast! The dog-park folks are proposing a public/private partnership in which they do volunteer work to keep maintenance costs down. They propose defraying costs with advertising and corporate sponsorship, too.

That won’t stop them from getting stuck in goo, however. The sticky goo in this case is where they want to put the parks.

The first one they want to put on Takoma Piney Branch terrace, otherwise known as Ed Wilhelm Park. That’s NOT the nearby Ed Whilhelm Field. This is a 24,000 sq. foot wooded patch in the parkland between Takoma Park Middle School and Piney Branch Elementary School.

The second site is not far, and it is in the same parkland between the schools – currently it is the parking lot at the end of Darwin Ave, surrounded on three sides by woods. The parking lot would have to go, of course, but the dog parkers claim it is seldom used.


The gooiest, stickiest part is who owns these sites. The first is apparently owned by the county, the second one may owned by the county or maybe the school district, or both. That’s as gooey as it gets: trying to build a city project on a county- or school-owned park. There may be a chance with the county, which is currently building a number of dog parks, one of them planned for nearby Silver Spring. But, the school district is notoriously aloof and uncooperative with local efforts.

Dog park proponents want one dog park now, and another two, eventually.

Dog park proponents want one dog park now, and another two, eventually.

The third dog park is proposed for what is called the Prince George’s Triangle. That’s a triangle formed by a split in Prince George’s Ave. where it meets New Hampshire Ave.  There’s about 30,000 square feet of land, not many trees, and a lot of residences facing the park. The dog parkers acknowledged that the last time this site was proposed for a dog-park, the neighbors nixed the idea.

Insurance costs killed the last dog-park attempt, the proponents said. But, that was for an unfenced park, they claim. Insurance for a fenced park is more affordable, they say.

Your Gilbert got through that item with no dog puns. Amazing.

Erskine Street sidewalk scuffle

There was another sidewalk skirmish. The city is brewing up a sidewalk on Erskine Street, which is in that quiet, oft-forgotten slice of Takoma Park on the other side of multi-laned New Hampshire Ave. It’s in Ward 6.

It’s been in the works for a long time, but not long enough for some residents. Unfortunately, the process started before the city created a more . . . . democratic (?) sidewalk process. This was the outcome of the Great Sidewalk War that ended in 2012. We say the process is democratic, but its more like following a difficult cake recipe. Whatever, it’s better than it used to be.

The proposed sidewalk would be on the right-hand side of the street in this photo. Photo by Lyle Kendrick.

The proposed sidewalk would be on the right-hand side of the street in this photo. Photo by Lyle Kendrick.

But, Erskine Street doesn’t get that. They’ve had meetings – sparsely attended, said the opponent who commented at the July 15 meeting. NO, they were well attended, says the city.

Normally, Ward 6 council member Fred Schultz gives all the leeway he can to naysaying residents. Your Gilbert got the impression he’s already given all he’s got to these few. And his battle scars from the Great Sidewalk War were acting up. Schultz’s and the city’s course was clear. That sidewalk’s going in.

Voice reporter Lyle Kendrick covers this story in more detail here.

– Gilbert

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About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.