If you have an opinion on Enumclaw’s new dog park, now’s the time to voice it.
On March 14, the city’s Park Board held an open house, revealing the three parks selected as the best potential areas to build a fully enclosed, off-leash dog park: to the south and behind the Safeway, Elk Meadows Park; to the north off state Route 169, MacFarland Park; and to the east on the corner of Battersby Avenue and Farman Street North, Ellenson Park.
While these parks made the short list, nothing has been decided yet, said city Parks and Rec Director Michelle Larson.
But the time to make suggestions, from location to amenities to even a name, is running short.
“This dog park is budgeted this year,” Larson said at the open house. “You will see a dog park sometime this year.”
The Enumclaw City Council already budgeted $35,000 for the most bare-bones park, which includes the fencing, a two-gate entrance, some benches, poop bags, a bag dispenser and a trash can.
Larson said more expensive amenities, like running water, a shaded area, or an agility course will be considered, if there seems to be enough public support.
But the city has to decide where the park goes before it decides what goes in the park, and that may be a little tricky.
Larson said the Park Board came up with pros and cons of every park in Enumclaw for building a dog park, and cross-referenced each park’s list with what the American Kennel Club recommends for a dog park.
That narrowed the board’s list to three parks.
The Elk Meadows Park would be the area between the Suntop Farms homes and future additions to the Elk Meadows neighborhood.
That field is undeveloped, so building the dog park there can build momentum for further development of the park area.
The park would also be along the Foothills Trail Connection (the trail crosses Warner Ave to the west of Elk Meadows Park) and would be easily accessible to new homes being built in the area.
However, the Elk Meadows Homeowners Association is opposed to installing a dog park in the area for at least two reasons. First, a dog park would bring traffic and noise, and second, a park plan for the neighborhood has been in the works for years, but never included a dog park, which doesn’t meet the expectations of families and individuals who moved to that area.
One attendee at the open house also noted a parking lot would have to be built if a dog park went into this area, driving up costs.
MacFarland Park has some of the most pros, but also the most cons.
With 6.5 acres, MacFarland Park is the largest of the three area proposed to house a dog park, though Larson said the whole park wouldn’t be converted — just the soccer field on the west end.
There’s already parking and the area is ADA accessible, not to mention closer to downtown than either of the other two parks.
It also comes with extra amenities, like trees for shade and access to running water.
However, the park is surrounded by houses, more so than the Elk Meadows Park. Many of these houses have their own dogs, as anyone who walks around the park trail would quickly discover, and adding a dog park would almost certainly add some noise.
Converting the park would also eliminate a sport practice area.
Finally, the park is already a dense, mixed-use park, and the Park Board would like to install a dog park in an area that doesn’t already get a lot of use. “In my opinion, it is the lowest option,” Larson said, adding she believed the rest of the Park Board would agree.
Then comes Ellenson Park and its 2.6 acres.
Unlike the other parks, Ellenson Park is not close to many homeowners, making noise and traffic less of an issue.
There’s already parking, and development of the park may spur a city trail development that leads to Ellenson.
However, the park’s remoteness from downtown means people would most likely have to drive to get there (at least until a trail project is finished) and the park is not currently ADA accessible.
Although only a couple dozen people attended the open house, with several being on the Park Board, Ellenson Park seemed to be the crowd favorite, Larson said.
The Park Board will meet April 11 to officially make a recommendation about the park, and present that recommendation to the City Council on April 26. Comments and suggestions about the park can be sent to Larson at mlarson@ci.Enumclaw.wa.us.