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Carin Smith | FIDO wants to offer first public, no-fee dog park

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Provided photo FIDO Board members at the last “pack walk,” which are regular waterfront walks organized to spread word about the park.

I’m the chair of a local group called FIDO (Friends Improving Dog Opportunities) that is working to create a network of public, no-fee, off-leash areas in the Wenatchee Valley. In early 2014, after a process of public input, the city of Wenatchee gave approval for an off-leash area of approximately 2.5 acres at Hale Park. They asked FIDO to work with the city for planning and ongoing maintenance of the future park. The site is located at the end of the Loop Trail, south of Pybus Market and under the pipeline pedestrian bridge. This will be a no-fee public park.

On June 21 at 9 a.m., join the FIDO Board and City Parks Director Dave Erickson to visit the site and have your questions answered. We will meet at the boat ramp parking lot behind Pybus Market and walk south from there to the site of the future park. Bring your dog on a leash or just yourself.

The work for a dog park has been ongoing for several years. The 2006 Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan advised that the Wenatchee City Parks appoint an issues-specific committee regarding creation of a dog park. A 2010 memo from the mayor and City Council to the Wenatchee City Parks director identified a dog park as a priority and noted that relationships with issue-specific task forces (such as FIDO) are established by cities to centralize the process, recommend policies and laws, research issues, discuss planning and provide suggestions for design and operations.

The City Parks Department, with FIDO input, has created a preliminary budget and a phased plan for park construction beginning next year. The city will provide infrastructure (parking, restrooms) while FIDO must generate funds for the dog park. FIDO is actively seeking grants and soliciting donations via the nonprofit Wenatchee Valley Sports Foundation. Phase 1 work includes fencing and footing. There will be a double-entry gate and approximately one-fourth of the area will be separately fenced for small dogs. Phases 2-4 include additional features such as an ADA-compliant walkway, a sandy play area for digging and installation of benches and other amenities. Park maintenance will be provided by the city and by FIDO volunteers.

Our energetic and dedicated FIDO Board is working hard to make the first public, no-fee Wenatchee off-leash area a reality! Contact us to get on our list for regular email updates about the park by emailing info@wenatcheefido.org, online at www.wenatcheefido.org, or on Facebook at Wenatchee FIDO.

“We have a fantastic park system that can be made even better with the addition of off-leash areas for pet dogs. This benefits dog owners and others by designating specific places where off-leash activity is acceptable! I look forward to seeing this project completed, and hope to see more in the coming years. FIDO is doing a great job of organizing and gathering information about dog parks. They are a tremendous asset to our community!” — Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz.

Dr. Carin Smith is president of Smith Veterinary Consulting and the chair of FIDO (Friends Improving Dog Opportunities) that is working to create a network of public, no-fee off-leash areas in the Wenatchee Valley.