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Herndon Dogs Support Chandon Plan Revision

Chandon Park slated to be home of Herndon dog park

Reston resident Amy Nichols attended the Thursday April 11 Fairfax County Park Authority meeting, but did not speak. She is a member of Herndon Dogs and also a business owner, having quit her dot-com job to start the Happy Tails Dog Spa that she is hopes to open on Saturday, June 1 on Tyco Road in Tysons Corner.

"I'm a business owner who enjoys dogs," said Nichols, a recent newlywed and dog owner. Her 8,750 square foot building is being renovated. "It's being dog-proofed with rubber floors and padding around corners. It's very large — much bigger than I expected," she said.

Classified a kennel by Fairfax County, Happy Tails will feature a dog day care facility, cage-free boarding for dogs staying over night, a boutique and a self-serve dog wash. "We supply the shampoo and towels," said Nichols, adding that the tub is waist-high to prevent washers from having to stoop over or bruise their knees on bathroom tile. The boutique will carry "high end items previously only found in catalogs," she said.

"My goal is to be an overall dog center with evening training activities," said Nichols, hoping to have one employee for every 10 dogs.

<1b>— Sanford D. Horn

Sidebar

<ro>Public Safety

<lst>Partial breakdown of the more than 200 calls made by the Herndon Police Department to Chandon Park from January 2000 to the present.

Rape 1

Assault 2

Larceny 5

Vehicle tampering 7

Drunkenness 8

Suspicious persons 46

Suspicious vehicles 57

<48hd>Herndon Dogs Support Chandon Plan Revision

<sh>Chandon Park slated to be home of Herndon dog park.

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<36hd>For the Dogs

<ro>"I promise you we will make this happen."

<ro1> — Dranesville representative to the Fairfax County Park Authority Richard "Rick" Thoesen

<1b>By Sanford D. Horn

<2b>The Connection

<bt>

The deck was stacked in favor of Herndon dog lovers Thursday evening, April 11 when the Dranesville representative to the Fairfax County Park Authority promised the Herndon dog park will happen.

"I want to make this happen. I will work with the Town Council," said Dranesville representative Richard "Rick" Thoesen, also a member of the Herndon Town Council. "The biggest problem is finding the money. I promise you we will make this happen," said Thoesen.

The Town of Herndon has budgeted $70,000 in FY 2003 funds for the Herndon dog park. Those are funds the town will front and ultimately be reimbursed for by both the county and Herndon Dogs, Inc.

Herndon Dogs has raised between $7,100 and $7,200, said Herndon resident Pat Voltmer as they continue to seek donations.

"I made a donation of $150," said Herndon resident Molly Smith, formerly of Arlington where there are at least a half dozen dog parks. "I've been to six or seven dog parks in Arlington — they're very popular." Noting that Chandon Park, the proposed site for the Herndon dog park has several tennis courts, Smith said, "tennis courts and dog parks have a symbiotic relationship. Tennis players throw old tennis balls into the dog park and the dogs love them."

CHANDON PARK is a 7.9-acre park owned by the Town of Herndon, but developed and maintained by Fairfax County, located at 900 Palmer Drive. The proposed dog park will fill 30,000 square feet of the 7.9 acres. The park currently contains a ball field used for softball, tennis courts and a play apparatus for children.

Seemingly preaching to the choir, speaker after speaker addressed a crowd of over 50 people at a public hearing regarding the Chandon Master Plan Revision held at Herndon Middle School. Revision of the master plan will allow for the creation of the dog park that Herndon Dogs, Inc. has been calling for since its formation in July 1999 and create 32 additional parking spaces. There are currently 29 parking spaces at the park.

"I visited all the parks in Herndon with one thing in mind — a dog park," said new Reston resident Nancy Despeaux, formerly of Herndon and president of Herndon Dogs. "I ruled out all the others except Chandon and one other that will remain unnamed. Chandon has been undeveloped for a quarter century. That's a shame. It should be used for something that will serve the community," she said.

"I've dedicated two and a half years to this effort," said Voltmer. The success of other dog parks in the City of Alexandria and Arlington County speak for themselves. Well socialized, well exercised dogs make better canine companions and neighbors."

"I'm a member of the Town Council and Herndon Dogs," said John De Noyer. "I have two dogs. They're great buddies, but they need more companionship," he said.

"THE SIZE AND THE SHAPE of the area make it unsuitable for other activities and it's walkable from many areas of town. The park is in great need of revitalization. The regular activity of numerous dog owners visiting the park will literally drive out the undesirable element that has taken up squatting rights in Chandon Park," said Voltmer.

While many speakers mentioned an undesirable element gravitating to Chandon Park, Herndon resident and Herndon Dogs' secretary Nancy Myers provided crime statistics she obtained from Herndon Police Senior Sgt. Donald W. Amos. "There have been over 200 police calls to Chandon Park during the period of January 2000 to the present," she said.

Elimination of such an element would be beneficial to the residents of Courts of Chandon, said attorney Bill Marr, speaking on behalf of Courts of Chandon and Waterford Park residents. "There has been a cooperative effort of the Town Council, residential areas and Herndon Dogs. We are enthusiastically behind it. The Park Authority should find a way to get this done. We're behind it 100 percent," said Marr.

After the meeting, Reston resident Brian Davidson, president of Reston Dogs, approached Marr and applauded his cooperative effort in supporting the Herndon dog park.

No opposition was voiced and Fairfax County Park Authority member Kenneth G. Feng (Springfield) said, "it's a worthwhile project."

The public comment period will remain open for 30 days from the date of the meeting, until Monday, May 13. The public may write, or e-mail Lynn Tadlock, director of planning and development with the Fairfax County Park Authority at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 421, Fairfax, VA 22035. The e-mail address is parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov. For more information, contact Judy Pedersen at 703-324-8662.