City council gives green light to dog park
February 4, 2011
By Tim Pfarr
Funding to be discussed this summer during budgeting process
The City Council voted 6-1 at its Feb. 1 meeting to move forward with building a dog park at the future sports park site on Southeast 95th Way.
The city will add the park to its capital projects and discuss funding when it begins work on the 2012 budget this summer.
The Parks Commission recommended to the council at its Jan. 12 meeting that an off-leash dog park be built at the future sports park site. It also noted that the council’s recommended budget of $25,000 would not be enough to build and maintain an off-leash park.
A park constructed at the future sports park site would likely be one or two acres, temporary and atop the grassy mound at the center of the site. It would need to be moved when construction begins on the sports park. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.
The future sports park’s design calls for a one-third-acre, off-leash dog park on the east end of the property.
Although representatives from the organization Friends Embracing the Canine Heart said their organization would not help fund an off-leash park at the site of the future sports park, members of the council spoke in favor of the commission’s recommendation
Members also said waiting until summer to discuss funding may better reveal interest in building a park at the site. If there is no interest or outside funding, it may kill the project.
The only member of the council who voted against accepting the commission’s recommendation was Councilman Rich Crispo, who said the lack of support for a potential dog park is already apparent.
“I can’t see us even considering spending any money if that’s not a place anybody’s going to go to,” he said.
There were no dog park advocates in the audience at the Feb. 1 meeting.
Without financial assistance from F.E.T.C.H. in building an off-leash park, the city would need to seek out other organizations for help, such as Renton’s Unleashed Furry Friends, which helped fund an off-leash park in Renton.
The minimum cost to build a one-acre park would be $20,500, and the minimum cost to build a two-acre park would be $37,300, according to city staff estimates. The maintenance cost for both would be just less than $1,000 per year.
Last June, the council assigned the Parks Commission to explore constructing an off-leash dog park in the city. The commission twice went through the process of narrowing locations for a potential park, both times settling on a location in Lake Boren Park and the future sports park site.
The commission held two public hearings on the matter, and Olympus residents voiced concerns about the proximity of their homes to an off-leash park in Lake Boren Park. Coupling these concerns with the positive aspects of the future sports park site — including abundance of space — it recommended the latter.
“It’s simply larger,” Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton said after recommending the site. “To me, the sky’s the limit as to what that can be.”