August 14, 2008 in Voices

Dog park has home

Section of High Bridge Park will be site for canines to roam
By The Spokesman-Review
 

To help in planning

To get involved in planning for new dog parks, e-mail Gail Mackie at gmackie@spokanimal.org. To make a donation, contact the Spokane Parks Foundation at 326-5233 or e-mail Toni Nersesian at Toni@spokaneparksfoundation.org.

Spokane parks officials and animal welfare advocates have apparently reached a milestone in their long walk to find a suitable place in the city for a dog park.

A section of High Bridge Park west of downtown has been chosen as the best place for the city to build its first park devoted to dogs and dog owners. Around the country, fenced dog parks have become a highly popular way for dogs and their owners to have fun and socialize.

The city Parks Department, Spokane Parks Foundation and SpokAnimal CARE are teaming up to develop the park. So far, the foundation has donated $12,000 to the cause, but donations are going to be sought to raise enough money for a quality facility, said Gail Mackie of SpokAnimal.

“Hopefully, people are going to get behind it and start making donations,” Mackie said.

A kickoff event and announcement of dog park plans is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at Hillyard Pool in conjunction with the doggie dip event at the closing of the pool. The doggie dip is at 6:30 p.m.

City officials recently briefed members of the Spokane Park Board land committee on the proposed location for a dog park at Riverside Avenue and A Street, according to minutes of the meeting. Efforts to create a dog park in Spokane date back several years.

Mackie confirmed the proposed location, which has been used by park maintenance to store park waste materials. A section of the land was also used as a community garden at one time, she said.

If enough money can be raised, the park would include two fenced areas – one for small dogs and another for large dogs – plus other park amenities.

A section of High Bridge Park farther south was ruled out as a possible dog park site because it could have caused problems for falcon hatchlings that drop from nests built beneath bridges over the Latah Creek canyon at the north end of the park.

Mackie said she hopes the High Bridge dog park will be the first of several to be built in the city.

A county-run dog park in east Spokane County has been so popular that it has suffered from overuse, she said.

Tuesday’s event at Hillyard will include representatives of dog clubs and vendors.

Mike Prager can be reached at 459-5454 or by e-mail at mikep@spokesman.com.

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