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Off-leash dog park gets unanimous approval from Kirkland City Council

A dog leaps for a Frisbee during the Go Dog Go! canine event at Crestwoods Park in 2009.   - File photo/Kirkland Reporter
A dog leaps for a Frisbee during the Go Dog Go! canine event at Crestwoods Park in 2009.
— image credit: File photo/Kirkland Reporter

The Kirkland City Council officially recognized the Kirkland Dog Off-Leash Group (KDOG) as a non-profit 24-years ago - well, in dog years. But the long scamper to obtaining an off-leash dog park in Kirkland was officially fetched Monday night with unanimous approval from the council.

"This represents years of work ... but it is coming to fruition because of an organization that is able to participate in the sponsorship," said Councilmember Jessica Greenway. "We would not be able to do this without the group."

But the years of work that KDOG President Jean Guth dedicated to the project is bittersweet as her dog Jasper has since died.

"She has worked tirelessly on this project," said KDOG member Terri Fletcher. "I propose to name the park Jasper's Park."

And while the name of the park is not official, the fact there will be a park was a source of celebration for Kirkland dog owners.

The park will be located at a vacant property just west of the Kirkland Municipal Court building owned by the city near the intersection of 113th Avenue N.E. and N.E. 120th Street in the Totem Lake neighborhood. The park could open Jan. 1, 2011 - or less than two dog years.

"We are very devoted to this project and we will take care of it ourselves," said Fletcher.

KDOG has agreed to fund all direct costs associated with both the development and up-keep of the facility on city-owned land. No city funds will be used for the project.

The undeveloped park land south of the Heronfield Wetlands is 7.5 acres and was purchased by the city in 2005. Up to 2.5 acres could be used for the park.

Site construction will cost $25,000, of which KDOG has raised $11,500.

A big part of the organizations fund raising has come from the event Go-Dog, Go! The second annual event raised $7,400 this year alone. The first event raised just $3,000.

"We doubled the number of participants from 2009," said Guth.

The ongoing maintenance will cost $4,400 a year for waste bags and trash removal and KDOG is attempting to bank three years of funding for that.

Along with the off-leash dog park, KDOG plans to donate between 20,000-30,000 pet waste bags for use in various parks around the city, said Guth.

KDOG funded a study to see if the location is viable for an off-leash dog park.

The study said that based on a similar facility in Mountlake Terrace, KDOG is estimating that use of the Off-Leash Area (OLA) will stabilize at an average total daily use of approximately 40 dogs on weekdays and 85 dogs on weekends. Peak times are typically midday and early evening, with up to 10 vehicle parking spaces required. The park board has said that on-street parking for the facility would be adequate.

The KDOG proposal includes four-foot high fences surrounding the area, "air lock" style gating with staging area, community kiosk, wood chip and sand material for the area and waste disposal dumpster.

Some of the rules will include that dog owners maintain voice control over their dogs at all times and an average dog park visit maximum of 45 minutes.

The only other dog parks on the Eastside are in Redmond, Bellevue and on Mercer Island.

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