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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Plans toward dog parks in area lying low

Plans for Spokane area dog parks, where pooches can run off leash and learn to socialize, have been, well, dogged in recent years.

Hopes for such a park at High Bridge Park were dashed last June when it was discovered that a bird on the “sensitive species” list inhabits the area. The proposed 3.2-acre site, under the railroad and Interstate 90 bridges, was below the nest of a peregrine falcon.

“The dog park isn’t going anywhere right now. We still want to do it, but it’s kind of iced at this point,” Taylor Bressler, parks operations division manager, told The Spokesman-Review in September.

Two years ago, there was talk of opening a dog park in the Spokane Valley.

Nancy Hill, director of SCRAPS, and Spokane County Parks and Recreation Director Doug Chase were envisioning a 10-acre park on county-owned land near Eastern Road and 12th Avenue. In the woodsy, hilly corner of the Edgecliff neighborhood, dogs could run off leash, socialize with one another and stay within a fenced boundary.

But those preliminary plans were halted when Spokane Valley citizens voted to incorporate in 2002. The county offered the land to Spokane Valley, but the new city turned it down, Chase said. The county still owns the land but doesn’t plan to put a dog park – or anything for that matter – on it.

“I simply have numerous other properties in unincorporated Spokane County that have been identified as higher priorities,” Chase said.

The city of Spokane Valley doesn’t have immediate plans to open a dog park on any of the land it does own. The city’s staff is writing a parks master plan that will set goals for future park growth, though.

If citizens show an interest in a dog park, one could be written into the plan, said Mike Jackson, the city of Spokane Valley’s parks and recreation director.

The public will have opportunities to comment on the master parks plan during the next several months. It’s expected to be completed next summer.

Hill said she’d like to see a park created.

“(The Spokane area) is overdue for a dog park,” she said. “We’re kind of behind the times because we haven’t addressed that.”

Hill said dog parks reward responsible pet owners, and they’re often maintained by an organization of dog owners. There are several dog parks in Western Washington, and dog beaches are popular in California.