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Historic Va. lesbian bar to be turned into a dog park

The venue shut its doors on Oct. 31

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storm drain, Capital Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Ted Eytan; courtesy Flickr)

Hershee Bar, one of the oldest lesbian bars in the country located in Norfolk, Va., shut its doors on Oct. 31 for the final time much to the dismay of its patrons. Last week, it was announced at a Norfolk City Council meeting that the bar would be demolished in favor of a dog park.

The Washington Post reports the announcement was an emotional one. Council members had voted to purchase Hershee Bar’s four-building lot in Feburary. The area was purchased for $1.5 million.  Activists who had been lobbying council members and Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander to not destroy the bar had not been told of plans for the space until the council meeting.

“There’s this sacred spot filled with 35 years of history,And dogs are literally going to be s—-ing on it,” Kathleen Casey, a professor at Virginia Wesleyan University, told the Washington Post.

Some town residents say a dog park is redundant given there are already three dog parks within three miles of the bar’s location.

Hershee Action Coalition, a group that had fought to save Hershee Bar, member Sarah Hustead says the longtime bar can’t compare to a dog park.

“Two, I think we have enough dog parks. But we don’t have anything else like the Hershee bar,” she told the Washington Post.

Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan wrote in a Facebook post that she was blindsided by the decision.

“For the record, I don’t support paying $1.5M for a dog park,” McClellan penned. “I had not heard of these plans before they were presented this week and I don’t agree with this direction at all.”

However, Jackie Rochelle, a member of the Five Tasks Point Force which works toward restructuring the area around Hershee Bar, told the Washington Post the dog park was “an accumulation of years of planning.”

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