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

Spokane Parks seeking input for design of Riverfront dog park supported by Humane Society

Canine caretakers in Spokane can have a say in how the city’s new downtown dog park will look.

The Spokane Parks Department has launched a 21-question online survey for potential users of the planned Riverfront Park amenity to weigh in on its design, features and material. The questionnaire will be available through April 15, with plans to incorporate feedback into the design that will be unveiled in June.

“What we’re wanting to see is, are people looking for a different type of dog park, when they come to Riverfront Park?” said Fianna Dickson, communication manager for Spokane Parks & Recreation.

The dog park, projected to cost $750,000, is being supported through donations collected by the Spokane Parks Foundation. Dickson said the dollar amount was a rough estimate that could change based on the climbing costs of building materials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a donation-funded piece,” she said.

In February, the Spokane Humane Society – celebrating its 125th year in 2022 – announced it would chip in a third of the projected price tag, $250,000, to support construction.

“One of the big reasons we like being in the core is it’s really more of a community location,” said Melissa Williams, chair of the Humane Society’s Board of Directors.

It’s also near the site of the nonprofit’s original brick animal shelter, built on the north bank of the Spokane River in 1910. The Humane Society also partners with Bark, a Rescue Pub, to provide adoptions in a tavern setting off Washington Street.

“We view this as not just being a dog park, but we will have full rights to do events there, including community education,” Williams said.

The survey asks respondents such questions as whether there should be different areas for large- and small-breed dogs, like at the SpokAnimal Dog Park at High Bridge Park in the Latah Valley that has been in operation since 2011.

Dickson said the survey could show whether dog owners want something unique in Riverfront Park compared to the one at High Bridge Park, just a few minutes drive from downtown.

“Everything we’ve done in Riverfront has been uniquely Riverfront,” she said.

Respondents can also weigh in on what types of features they’d like to see, including agility challenges and whether the layout should prioritize natural or man-made elements. The Parks Department also wants to know how much of the original Forestry Shelter, which was built during Expo ’74, should remain on the site.

The site was selected in part because of that historic structure, Dickson said.

“It’s a natural shade structure, which we know people are looking for in the summer,” she said.

Additional donations can be made at the Spokane Parks Foundation’s website.

Terri Fortner, executive director of the foundation, encouraged residents to weigh in on the park’s design.

“We really want people to engage in this process so we build something that makes the whole community happy,” Fortner said.

Much of the initial work in planning and marketing the idea has been donated, Fortner added.

The reveal of the design, along with groundbreaking, is planned for June 18. It will coincide with the Spokane Humane Society’s annual Parade of Paws fundraising event.