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Votes

Parking Puts Bite on Herndon Dogs

As Herndon Dogs, Inc. keeps raising money on its own, it continues to fetch financial support from the Town of Herndon for a dog park that is planned for Chandon Park.

"We at Herndon Dogs are very excited they're moving forward," said 14-year Herndon resident Pat Voltmer, owner of Bailey, an eight-year-old English Bulldog. "We just wish there were less red-tape involved," she said.

Chandon Park, adjacent to the Courts at Chandon apartments, is already an active park with a ball field, two tennis courts and a tot lot that lacks sufficient parking. This is an area of concern for both the town and Fairfax County. Chandon Park sits on Town of Herndon land but is managed by the county.

<mh>Larger Proposal

<bt>Fairfax County Park Authority has called for a 30,000-square-foot dog park. "They're getting larger and more sophisticated," said Dranesville representative to the Park Authority Richard C. "Rick" Thoesen at the Feb. 5 Town Council work session.

The needs include bringing up to an appropriate standard the number of parking spaces at the park, said Thoesen, also a member of the Town Council. The parking lot is already short 12 spaces with its current facilities. The county estimates that a dog would use about 700-square-feet of space in a park; a 30,000-square-foot area would accommodate up to 40 dogs at a time. The county also calls for one parking space per two dogs, said Thoesen, thus an additional 20 parking spaces would be required just for the dog park usage.

The Town of Herndon estimates refurbishing the parking lot at Chandon with a 20-space addition would cost $70,000, while a 32-space addition would cost $100,000. Herndon Parks and Recreation supports the county findings, said director Arthur Anselene.

"Beyond 20 spaces requires earth moving," said Albert "Ron" Colan, director of the town's Public Works department.

"It's a shame we can't use the park now because of the parking. It's not being used for softball now. It's winter," said Voltmer.

Colan suggested that without the necessary conditional use permit, the town staff could accomplish the job before the coming summer.

"Public Works is available now, but for how long? And when would they be available again?" asked Voltmer. "We want the parking to be taken care of. We want the residents of Chandon to have their problem solved and have the park opened," she said.

While Herndon Dogs is committed to raising the necessary funds for the park's fence, about $7,000, said Voltmer, there is the issue of the at least $70,000 for the remainder of the project.

<mh>County Role?

<bt>Thoesen, speaking as a member of the Park Authority, suggested that the town contribute $10,000 that could be matched by a county grant. The remaining $50,000 would come from various county projects, said Thoesen.

"I realize it was a conflict of interest," said Thoesen, at the work session. "I do have a couple of projects in mind. I won't reveal which, yet. I need to work with [county] staff to determine the specifics. I can't favor Herndon at the expense of McLean or Great Falls," he said.

Voltmer said Herndon Dogs has raised nearly $7,000 and that they are still accepting donations to the not for profit 501c-4 organization. Donations can be mailed to Herndon Dogs, Inc., P.O. Box 983 Herndon, VA 20172-0983. For more information, call 703-578-0522, Box 7 or go on-line to www.herndondogs.net.