Spokane Valley residents Gregg and Wanda Tenner have nothing but good things to say about the off-leash dog park located some 20 miles to the east of their home in the Ponderosa area.
It’s just that it’s a little far away.
The Tenner’s dog, Gracie, a Labrador/hound mix adopted from the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service shelter last summer, also appreciates the 3.5-acre greenspace set aside for canines just outside Liberty Lake, but still enjoys her daily walks through a 17.7-acre field not far from the Tenner’s home on 44th Avenue.
Last week, a meeting was held to try and find a compromise.
Over the past several months, the Tenners have been in discussions with Mike Stone, Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation director, in an effort to generate interest in establishing an off-leash dog park in Spokane Valley. On Jan. 28, the Tenners were among approximately 20 residents in attendance at the CenterPlace Regional Event Center to discuss issues like land options, funding and forming an ad-hoc committee that would work with the city to generate ideas and support for the project.
“We just went over what it’s going to take to start a park,” said Gregg. “The meeting was about gauging interest.”
Stone said he was encouraged by the gathering but emphasized that the project is still in the early stages. He said the City Council would have to approve the formation of a task force and added that launching a park would hinge significantly on the involvement of residents and outside funding.
“I think there’s a lot of positive support about establishing something in our city but I think people are also realistic enough to realize it’s going to take an effort by citizens,” Stone said.
SCRAPS collected $20,000 in donations for fencing and other costs associated with the launch of the Gateway park in 2006. SCRAPS shares maintenance duties with the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department which purchased the old Interstate 90 rest stop from the Washington Department of Transportation for the bargain price of $1. Nancy Hill, SCRAPS director, said the agency’s maintenance costs run between $3000 and $3500 a year.
Hill said Spokane Valley would benefit from having its own dedicated site for dogs.
“I’m excited about the possibility of a dog park in the Valley,” she said.
Stone drew parallels between the community support for the latest dog park project and the grassroots efforts of citizens in Greenacres who raised $10,000 for a park in their neighborhood. Stone said the involvement of residents played a key part in the design process as well as the procurement of state funds. The park is still waiting for additional funding, Stone said.
The Tenners have discussed the idea of leasing part of the 17.7-acre CVSD parcel near their home as a site for the dog park. Melanie Rose, CVSD spokeswoman, said a lease would have to be approved by the school district’s board of directors.
Stone said there has also been talk of adding a dog park element to an existing greenspace in Spokane Valley, although he added that the proposed venues “are not suited from a terrain or location perspective.”
Gregg Tenner maintained that the venture “won’t cost the city a great deal of money.” He said he has already heard from a resident who will offer a discount on rock landscaping and another architect who would be willing to help. Tenner said that part of the challenge in establishing a dog park is that Spokane Valley “just doesn’t have enough space set aside for parks.”
Stone said there is always the possibility that a resident or local developer would donate land for the project.’
“That would be wonderful,” he said.
Want to help?
Those interested in finding out more about a Spokane Valley dog park or donating to the cause can contact Gregg and Wanda Tenner at 928-0293.