Neighbors push for dog park on site of new Norfolk fire station

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The wheels are already in motion for a new dog park in Meadowbrook, after a longstanding park closed Monday to make way for a new fire station.

For more than a decade, dog owners say they’ve used a fenced-in playground on the site of the former Meadowbrook School as a space to let their dogs run off their leashes.

“I’ve brought three generations of dogs to this park,” said David Brewster. “It is the only facility in Norfolk that I’m aware of that is completely fenced.”

Fire Station 12, at the corner of East Little Creek Road and Hampton Boulevard, is slated to open in fall 2017 on the site of the current playground. The station has been located across the street for more than 90 years.

“We lose some of the comradery that we have and the connections with the people who come to the park everyday,” said Elaine Dawson.

A layout released by the City of Norfolk shows the station will sit next to 2.25 acres of green space. There is a little less than one acre mapped out for a new dog park, but residents will have to independently raise about $20,000 to make it a reality.

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“It’s definitely doable,” said Dawson. “We have lots and lots of people interested in donating and/or participating in labor kinds of things.”

The group will also need the city’s support, but they remain optimistic given the green-light similar dog park projects have gotten in the past.

“I don’t think the city should have to do all of it,” said Dawson. “I think it’s like, we have skin in the game if we make an investment. We have a reason to make it nice.”

Supporters of the dog park point out the opposition: neighbors who don’t want increased traffic and dogs off their leashes.

“Getting cooperation from people like homeowners, who don’t like the idea of dogs pooping across the street, can quash these kinds of things,” said Brewster.

Supporters say they believe the dog park will improve their neighborhood.

“A property that’s taken care of and appreciated makes the rest of the neighborhood look good,” said Dawson.

More than 250 people signed an online petition in support of a new dog park.

The city will hold a public meeting Jan. 9 to gauge the interest in dog park on the land funded by citizens.