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.
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RVA Polar Plunge raises $40k for Special Olympics


More than 300 participants took the plunge for charity Feb. 25 at The Shops at Willow Lawn, raising $40,000 for the Special Olympics of Virginia as part of the 2017 RVA Polar Plunge Fest. Participants jumped into frigid water as part of the event, having raised money through donations leading up to the event.

“At Special Olympics Virginia, our vision is to inspire the first unified generation; a generation of people who respectfully include each other in the school, in the workplace, in the community,” said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia President. “Plunging this past Saturday included people with intellectual disabilities and those without; people of all ages, genders, races and religions; students and teachers; doctors and lawyers; military and law enforcement; one for all; all for one." > Read more.

Fundraiser bags more than $50k


CancerLINC's 11th annual "It’s in the Bag" event raised more than $50,000. The event, presented by Virginia Cancer Institute, was held at The Westin Richmond in Henrico Feb. 2 and was attended by more than 200 people.

“It's in the Bag” included handbag designer Thaddeus DuBois and his family from Syracuse, Ind. DuBois brought four handcrafted handbags, which were auctioned off and raised more than $4,000. Three autographed handbags from “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker also brought funds. > Read more.

A date with states


Above, Varina’s Andre Watkins drives to the basket during the Blue Devils’ 52-51 win against Hampton in the Group 5A third-place game at Hermitage High School Feb. 25. Below, Tyrese Jenkins drives to the basket during the game. The Blue Devils (21-6 on the season), who earlier last month defeated Hermitage, 53-34, to earn a spot in the 5A state tournament, next will face Albemarle in that tournament. It is the program’s first trip to the state tournament since 2001 and first under fourth-year coach Andrew Lacey, who has turned around a team that was 6-14 during his first season. > Read more.

Future public servants observe lawmaking firsthand


For the past two months, they showed up every day at the state Capitol, dressed in matching blazers and carrying pen and paper at the ready – the next generation of public servants carefully observing their superiors.

These young adults are known as pages. They are middle school and high school students from around Virginia who assist in everyday tasks at the General Assembly to experience firsthand how the legislative process works.

The program dates as far back as 1850, when the one page who worked was paid $2 a day. > Read more.

CRLC seeks donations for Malvern Hill Farm


The Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) is seeking to raise $100,000 in 30 days to cover due diligence and closing costs associated with the historic Malvern Hill Farm. These include boundary survey, Phase I ESA, title search and insurance, recording fees, taxes, and legal work as well as a Section 106 review.

CRLC is scheduled to close on the purchase of the property May 31, and is asking community members to help support the site's acquisition. All donations will help CRLC leverage $1 million in matching funds. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Henrico County Community Author Showcase, a program that connects writers and readers in the community, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue on the second Monday and every Thursday of the month at various libraries. Ariel Wilkerson will share her children’s book “Riley and How It All Started” at Fairfield Library. For details, visit http://www.henricolibrary.org/authors. Full text

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