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County’s first dog park being planned at Dorey Park

Canines of Henrico County soon will have a new place to roam.

Henrico County's first public dog park is scheduled to open in Varina's Dorey Park later this year.

The dog park will be located on about one acre of land near the pond at the park, on the opposite side of a gravel parking lot. Construction is expected to begin this month, with completion anticipated by late September, according to Al Azzarone, parks planning supervisor for the Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks.

"We've been receiving citizen requests [for a dog park] for a number of years," Azzarone said. After Varina District Supervisor Jim Donati received some of those requests himself, he asked county officials to look into the concept of putting a dog park at Dorey. They studied the site and determined the best location for such an area.

The spot they selected is mostly wooded currently but will be partially cleared in the coming weeks to allow for the construction of the dog park. Officials hope to keep several larger trees in place. A footbridge will be constructed over a ditch to connect the park to the parking lot.

“I’ve had a number of calls and requests from people for something like this, “ Donati said, “especially from those who live in dense neighborhoods or townhomes. They really don’t have anywhere for their dogs to run safely.”

The dog park will include two separate areas – one for large dogs and one for small dogs – and double-gated entrances to each side, to allow dogs to enter and be unleashed in a holding area prior to entering the park.

There also will be sufficient space around the perimeter of the park for visitors to walk their dogs as well, if they choose not to enter the fenced-in portion.

The facility will be enclosed by 6-foot tall black vinyl fencing, Azzarone said, and will include a number of features. Among them:

• water dispensers on each side for dogs;

• play equipment for dogs;

• bag dispensers and trash cans to collect and dispose of dog waste;

• seating areas for visitors.

Officials also are considering a way to construct a shallow water pit that dogs could wade in during warm months, Azzarone said.

The project will cost about $155,000 in total; it required that water lines be extended from the restrooms at the park across the main road to the new site, Azzarone said.

Because the addition of the park falls within the purview of the Dorey Park master plan, no official action by the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors is necessary to permit its construction.

However the Board of Supervisors will consider an ordinance amendment at its Aug. 9 meeting that would allow dogs to be off leash in the dog park – a necessary step before the park can open.

Requests for dog parks have come from other parts of the county as well, Azzarone said, and it is possible that additional parks could be considered elsewhere in the future.


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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