Dog park discussions ongoing; open house set for May 24

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 16:32
  • A little-used plot of land on Fire House Lane in Eagle River is one of two sites analyzed deemed suitable for a dog park. A May 24 open house has been scheduled to gather community feedback on the long-sought play area for pooches. (Star file photo)

For years, Chugiak-Eagle River area residents have doggedly pursued a public place for their pooches to play. While the disucssions have been mostly bark, there’s finally some teeth in plans to bring a dog park to town.

A draft feasibility study on a Chugiak-Eagle River dog park was recently completed by R&M Consultants, which looked at five different sites in the area that might be suitable for a dog park. At the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors meeting April 9, R&M’s Van Le said the study found two sites most suitable for a park.

“Two sites met the criteria,” she said.

Those sites are a little-used plot of land on Fire House Lane in Eagle River and at Peters Creek Park in Chugiak. Le said both sites have their pros and cons, with the 1.8-acre Firehouse Lane site being less expensive to develop but the Peters Creek site being larger.

Other sites that were considered included Loretta French Park, near the railroad tracks at Beach Lake Park and the NW Quarter of Beach Lake Park. Those sites were deemed unsuitable for various reasons, Le, said, ranging from conflicts with existing users (Loretta French) to conflicts with the railroad (Beach Lake) to a lack of defined community vision for the area (NW quarter).

The parks board has been discussing the idea of a dog park in one version or another for years, but discussions began to ramp up about a year ago when the deparment brought in consultants to work on the project. The next step in the process will be to notify the public and hold an open house on May 24 in Eagle River.

Board member Lexi Hill said it’s important neighbors have adaquate time to weigh in on the proposals. When earlier discussions about the Firehouse Lane project have come up, some neighborhood residents have objected, she said.

“I’d like to at least have an answer to that complaint,” she said.

Le agreed. She said public input into the proposal will be key to its long-term success.

“We want to have all the pieces in place to make it successful,” she told the board.

The May 24 open house will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the community room at the Town Center building at 12001 Business Boulevard. A copy of the draft study can be found at www.muni.org/Departments/ERparks/Pages/DogParks.aspx.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call (907) 257-4274.

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