The case for another off-leash dog park in Sammamish

Sammamish needs another off-leash dog park. Here’s why and how it can be safe.

The Beaver Lake dog park is too small to be of real use. The dogs don’t have enough room to run and play. The “dog prisons” that exist there now compress the play and exercise areas, and the large breed area with its path can be traversed in five minutes. My Golden Retriever gets no exercise to speak of here.

As readers know, I advocated turning Big Rock Park into an off-leash park. There was a long comment posted why this should not be done: safety, potential harm to sensitive areas, etc.

The response is easy.

First, if people know it’s an off-leash dog park, problem solved. The conflict emerges with the assumption that it is not an off-leash park and some people nonetheless let their dog off-leash.

Certain days (or even certain hours) could also be designated off-leash with the remaining days on-leash.

Second, as with Marymoor Park, fence off those sensitive areas. Costly? Perhaps, but after spending a half million dollars (!!!) for two (!!!) boat docks at Sammamish Landing, I’m not sure there is a good argument on cost.

Whether Big Rock Park or another park becomes off-leash, Sammamish has plenty of “people” parks. Having a sizable off-leash park, well designated, is a convenience and an amenity.

People complain about having to drive off the Plateau for goods and services, and note that keeping people on the Plateau reduces traffic. The same argument can be made for this amenity.

I received this email from a reader.

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Community Center already over budget: first estimate

The Sammamish Community Center is already $2 million over budget, according to the first estimate to come into the City.

Voters approved a $30 million project in an advisory vote last November.

The Sammamish Review revealed the overage in its article reporting that Don Gerend will seek another term. The reference is short and it’s buried but it’s there.

Sammamish should make Big Rock Park a dog park; vote in the poll

Within the last few weeks, Sammamish city officials erected a sign at what is now called Big Rock Park–fka SE 8th St. Park–saying it is not an off-leash dog park–go to Beaver Lake Park to let your dog off leash.

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The problem with this, as any dog owner knows, is that the off leash area of Beaver Lake Park is pathetically small. It’s enclosed by a chain link fence. It’s a dog prison.

Big Rock Park, on the other hand, is a doggie paradise. It’s 10 acres. It’s fenced on all four sides. The front half (or so) is wide-open field. The back half has trails and some open areas. Wetlands are seasonally wet.

Only a few blocks away is Ebright Creek Park on 212th Ave. SE, where there are trails and amenities for people wishing to walk and not be bothered by dogs. Most of Beaver Lake Park is off limits to off leash dogs. Every other park in the city is off limits to off leash dogs.

Dog owners were increasingly using Big Rock Park as an off-leash area. This park is far, far better than the puny Beaver Lake Park area, and far more convenient than driving to Marymoor Park.

I asked a city councilman why the city put the sign up. He said there was a complaint that one person had been jumped by a dog (it was unclear if this was an aggressive dog or a playful one), and that underbrush wasn’t protected from dogs.

Well, it’s not as if the latter couldn’t be accomplished. But for all the times I talk our Golden Retriever there, I’ve never seen a dog thrashing through the brush–they’ve always been on the trails.

This city has hundreds of acres of parks people can enjoy. We need a measly 10 acres for our dogs.

Since the city erected its sign banning off-leash at Big Rock Park, I have seen usage drop off. There are now few people using this park. This should tell city officials something.

Our city officials need to make Big Rock Park a dog park.

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Sammamish to approve YMCA deal Feb. 19

The Sammamish City Council is poised to approve the management agreement with the YMCA on Feb. 19.

The lengthy agreement is here: ComCtrOpAgreement21413

In a last-ditch effort to alter the path toward the Community Center size and YMCA element, Arthur Goldman, an opponent, commissioned a public opinion survey that concluded an opposite result to the November advisory vote in which citizens approved the Center and the Y deal. Goldman’s letter to the Council is below the jump.

The Citizens for Sammamish this month held a meeting about the Community Center. I attended, as did Councilmen Don Gerend and Ramiro Valderrama; several employees for Columbia Athletic Center/Pine Lake Club and officials of the YMCA.

Frankly (and I more or less said so) I found the meeting to be perplexing since the die was cast. With the advisory vote a clear winner–by nearly 7 percentage points (Obama won by four and Inslee by three)–the City Council fairly could conclude it had a mandate to proceed with the $30m building, the YMCA management agreement and the $1/yr lease of the Y’s property next to Pine Lake Middle School for eventual development of another recreational facility.

The owner of the Pine Lake Club accused the City of double-dealing and dishonesty. But in the end, nothing was going to change and nothing did.

See below the jump for written exchanges and the public opinion survey.

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