Posted by Tim Vidra / December 28, 2011
Secret Fan Dog Park: Scuffletown Park
Well, we uncovered one of the rumored dog parks here in the Fan district that we mentioned in this post after a quick walk and a little exploring.
We'd heard it was located in an alley on Strawberry Street right across from the Strawberry Street Cafe so we set out to prove the rumor true or false.
Upon turning the corner at Park Avenue and Strawberry Street, we peeked down the alleyways in hopes of uncovering a dog park. What we found was much better...
Instead of an alleyway dog run, we happened across a beautifully manicured area filled with fenced in plots of grass, bountiful flowers, tables, park benches, trash/recycling bins, dog bag dispensers, water bowls, rain barrels and brick walkways. We couldn't believe it and both agreed this pretty huge park was one we would have passed right by the alleyways of if we hadn't been looking for it.
For those of you that know your way around Richmond, this little gem of a park is well hidden in an open pocket of the Fan encapsulated behind the following streets: Strawberry Street, Park Avenue, Stuart Avenue, and Stafford Avenue as shown in the map below:
Scuffletown Park Fan Pocket — Map via Park's Facebook Page
We got the fairly early and ran into just one dog owner, John Patterson, who actually plays a major role in the upkeep of the park.
He introduced himself and his dog, Lucky Chuckie — we chatted for a while about the history of the park and how to get involved with the current goings-on. He explained how the fenced in grassy areas were off limits for dogs, because many mothers and nannies like to bring young children to the park for picnics for a clean area for children to play within the city. When we first came upon the park, we immediately assumed the fenced in areas were for dogs to play in, but it turns out the areas for dogs to run and play are the 3 bricked in patio runs — perfect for chasing and exercising.
John also told us there is a local organization and group of neighbors who contribute to the upkeep of the park and participate in various events like potluck dinners, park cleanups and most recently their very own grand illumination — the park had been decorated with festive holiday lights and a large Christmas tree. As with most parks that allow animals we were made aware of several rules if we decide to visit this park in the future:
- Please keep your dog out of the grassed area
- Clean up after him/her (bags are provided)
- Dispose of any trash you may bring into the park
- If you choose to smoke please extinguish and dispose of butts properly
- Most of all have fun
As a bonus, across the top of the park was a large fenced in area of land being used as rent-able garden plots right in the middle of the city.
While all the plots appeared to be occupied and rumored to be incredibly hard to procure, we were fascinated nonetheless and look forward to watching the produce change with the seasons and learn from the urban gardeners doing their thing.
We're looking forward to bringing Basil back by Scuffletown Park, meeting more neighbors, and learning more about how to get involved as volunteers. We are certainly looking forward to finding other hidden wonders the Fan has to offer!