November 15, 2008 in City

CdA dog park planned

Animal shelter would be added in ‘affordable phases’
By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Bob Macdonald and his dog Jake, third from right, visit with other dogs of all breeds Friday at the Gateway Park at Stateline. Macdonald and others hope to have a dog park of their own in Coeur d’Alene.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

Dog park meeting

Residents interested in forming a dog park will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Davis Donuts, 2520 N. Fourth St. in Coeur d’Alene. Kootenai Humane Society Executive Director Phil Morgan will update the group on efforts to start a dog park.

For more information, call (208) 660-3313.

North Idaho dog owners could have a place for their pooches to run off-leash as soon as spring if plans hatched by the city of Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai County and the Kootenai Humane Society become reality.

The city has been aware of its residents’ desire for a dog park for years. A survey conducted in 2006 revealed it was one of the top three features people would like to see added to parks and recreation amenities. The questions have been how and where.

In March, the city, county and Humane Society unveiled a proposal to transform seven acres near an old landfill off Ramsey Road into a dog park in conjunction with plans to build a $3 million to $5 million animal shelter on adjacent land.

On Friday, however, Phil Morgan, the Humane Society’s executive director, said the parties now hope to break the project into “more affordable” phases over the next two to three years, starting with a goal of opening a dog park by spring. Budget constraints have delayed plans for the animal shelter by two to three years, he said, but all three parties believe they can move forward with the dog park.

A spring opening would be just soon enough for Bob Macdonald, who started pushing city officials to create a dog park about a year ago. He wants a place for his elkhound, Jake, to run and socialize with other dogs. Macdonald, a former city councilman and county commissioner, recently launched a grass-roots effort to create a dog park, saying that the plan for the joint animal shelter and dog park would have taken too long.

“Jake needs a place to run around,” Macdonald said.

The master plan for the animal shelter and dog park calls for extending Neider Avenue west to provide access. But Morgan said the parties are exploring seeking access to that land through an existing road into the south end of the Ramsey Road transfer station.

“We’re trying to come up with optional access through Ramsey,” Morgan said. If that access will work, he said, “We’d put a small parking lot in there and then put the fence around (the dog park).”

Kootenai County Board of Commissioners Chairman Rick Currie said the troubled economy led the parties to scale back the plans, but they still want to start the project and build upon it later.

“The county’s got the property, and it’s available,” Currie said. “We’re working with the city to bring that to completion.”

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