Council approves developing dog park|City will provide land for the new facility

Published 2:21 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

Contributing Editor

Washington is going to the dogs, or more precisely, part of Washington will be used for an off-leash dog park.
During its meeting Monday, the City Council authorized development of a dog park, about two-thirds of an acre in size, at the corner of East 4th and Brown streets near Jack’s Creek.
Concepts for the proposed dog park were presented on May 14 to the public for its review and input at the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center.
The council discussed the zoning designation for that property and decided the designation allows public parks, thereby including dog parks as an allowable use of the property.
During the May 14 meeting, 22 people spoke in favor of the dog park at the proposed location, with no one speaking against it. Two people submitted letters opposing the dog park at that site.
Councilman Archie Jennings warned supporters of the dog park that there will be “a lot of scrutiny around this.” He said people will be observing to make sure the dog park is properly operated and maintained.
Mayor Pro Tempore Doug Mercer suggested the dog park be possibly somewhat larger than the proposed two-thirds of an acre.
In March, a proposal to build a dog park was presented by Rebecca Clark, Monica Ferrari and Stacey Pack of the Washington Off-Leash Dog Park Initiative.
Initially, they wanted to build the dog park at the former Fragrance and Texture Garden and adjacent land on East Third Street close to Veterans Park. They estimated it would cost about $11,000 to built it.
In March, Clark said the project would be self-funding, requiring no money from the city to build the park, only land for it.
The city plans to use “FEMA lots” for the dog-park site. Those lots, prone to flooding during hurricanes and other major storms, were bought by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and given to the city with the stipulation that no structures such as residences and businesses be built on them.
FEMA contends it doesn’t make sense to build such structures in flood-prone areas because of the cost of replacing them flooding occur.