Parks board hopes to move forward with Peters Creek dog park by spring

Friday, October 26, 2018 - 15:12

Parks and recreation board members want to move forward on at least on area dog park by next spring.

At Monday’s meeting of the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors, the board agreed to tentatively work toward putting a plan in place to create a dedicated off-leash dog park at Peters Creek Park.

Parks director John Rodda said he thinks that if the board decides to go ahead with the plan, work could begin next spring.

“I think it’s very achievable for next year,” Rodda said.

The board took no official action, but instead asked member Tony Sisto — who represents the Chugiak Community Council on the board — to go to the council in search of support for the proposed dog park.

The park is one of two possible dog parks under consideration by the board. In contrast to a proposed park on Fire House Lane, the Peters Creek site has received little or no public opposition. Its primary impediment has been cost, which was estimated at about a half-million dollars by R&M Consultants.

However, Rodda said he thinks a dog park can be built on the site — a large, wooded lot — much cheaper.

“I don’t think it’s a half-million dollar project,” he said.

The board decided to continue looking into the Fire House Lane site as well, but members indicated they’d like to take a cautious approach there due to public opposition.

Trails closing soon

Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation manager Karen Richards said the trails at Beach Lake will soon be closed for the fall season.

“They’ll be fully closed by the weekend,” Richards said.

The trails are closed annually during the fall to protect them during the rainy season, she said. They’ll be re-opened for skiing once snow conditions allow.

Boo at the Beach preparations ongoing

There were no members of the public in attendance at the meeting, but there were a number of ghoulish guests. Richards said she was storing additional “Boo at the Beach” materials in the meeting room, which explained the dozen or so oversized goblins, scarecrows and monsters lining the room.

Richards said the annual Halloween event — which will be held Saturday night at the Beach Lake Chalet on Birchwood Loop — is a major undertaking.

“Last year we had over 700 people on the haunted side,” she said.

The event includes a haunted trail and a trick-or-treat trail. The trick-or-treat side opens at 5 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m., with the haunted side upen from 7-9:30 p.m.

Richards said the department is still taking candy donations. Contact her at (907) 343-1500.

Homeless family update

Richards also updated the board on the status of a homeless family living at the Beach Lake cabins. She and her staff paid for the family — a woman and her 23- and 16-year-old sons — to live in one of the department’s dry cabins after their campsite at Eklutna Lake was robbed. Richards said the family had raised some money through donations and had paid for the cabin themselves. She said they were in the process of finding permanent housing and were expected to be out by Friday.

Mac manager gives upbeat report

McDonald Center manager Reid McDonald told the board the center’s finances are looking good heading into the final months of the year.

“Overall it’s going really well,” said McDonald, who said he didn’t have September’s numbers, but that the center was about $1,700 ahead of its budget for August.

“We’re looking really good going into the fourth quarter,” he said.

McDonald said the center has lost ice time from the Mustang Hockey Association, which is buying less ice due to lower numbers of players. But he said the Eagle River Hockey League adult league is doing well, with the league up to 12 teams for the 2018-19 season.

McDonald also noted that the two new Fire Lake Arena Management Inc. board members — Tony Boneta and Michelle Fletcher — had officially taken their seats on the board.

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