To the Editor:
To those who are unaware, the off-leash dog area (OLDA) at Westgrove Park is now open for business. The gate at the entrance of Fort Hunt Road is now permanently open. The asphalt driveway and roadway around the OLDA have been beautifully coated and striped with numerous parking spaces. The perimeter fence and access gates are installed.
I have visited Westgrove Park several times over the past week and have never seen fewer than a dozen dogs and their owners frolicking within the OLDA enjoying themselves and with the owners socializing with one another (see accompanying photo). Without doubt, this is one of the most favorable uses of Park Authority property I have ever seen.
Since OLDAs have been deemed a "best management practice," it is truly a shame that it took three years from start to finish to accomplish creation of the OLDA. Members of Westgrove PACK are to be commended for their perseverance in the face of unreasonable opposition from a handful of anti-development zealots. Also, thanks to Supervisor Gerry Hyland, Planning Commissioner Earl Flanagan and Mount Vernon Park Authority Representative Linwood Gorham for their support of the OLDA.
The Westgrove Park OLDA should become a show piece for our county as an example of a great way to utilize our county's park land for the benefit of tax payers who have been clamoring for OLDAs for many years. The Westgrove Park OLDA is several times larger than other county OLDAs and this was done intentionally since most other OLDAs have a ground surface of stone dust and the Westgrove Park OLDA has retained its grass ground cover. The larger surface area reduces wear and tear on each square foot of grass.
To those dog lovers who now have a place within our community to safely run their dogs, I say visit Westgrove Park and enjoy your new facility. Also, send an e-mail to the sponsoring organization Westgrove PACK at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your name as a supporter to help ensure that the OLDA is included in the final Master Plan for the park.
H. Jay Spiegel