New dog park total: $67,000

Canine facility will be built at base of Tubbs Hill

COEUR d'ALENE - How much is that doggie park in the window?

Around $67,000, actually.

Undaunted by the sum, the Kootenai County Dog Park Association is optimistic it can have the funds secured in time to build a dog park at the base of Tubbs Hill at the east end of McEuen Field when the downtown park project is constructed next year.

"It's a little more than we spent on the last two," said Bob MacDonald, KCDPA chairman, calling the design "a little bit classier" than the other dog parks in town. "It's going to be unique because it's going to be the downtown dog park."

It will be more expensive than the other two parks because it will use better materials for the state-of-the-art design, he said.

Plans, drawn by Team McEuen as they worked on the McEuen Field master plan, call for a decomposed granite surface at the park, as well as benches, water fountains and agility obstacles for the pets. It calls for darker fencing to blend in with the Tubbs Hill landscape. The other dog parks use galvanized fences.

It will be a little smaller footprint, MacDonald said, than the roughly 1-acre dog park that opened at Cherry Hill Park last year and cost $10,500.

But like the Cherry Hill dog park and the first dog park the association built, Central Bark, it will be funded entirely through grants and donations.

"We're not asking the taxpayers," MacDonald said.

The group will kick off fundraising with a party being planned for the end of the month. The association has around $4,000 in hand now, and a pledge from an donor, who wants to remain anonymous, at Panhandle State bank will match donations up to $25,000, MacDonald said, so in one way, fundraising is almost halfway done.

"We might be one of the first elements that might actually get done," he said of components of the McEuen Field park plan being left off the construction process until they can be privately funded. "That's what we're kind of hoping for."

The spot would be at the east end of the park near City Hall where a softball field used to be.

While different components of McEuen Field's redevelopment conceptual design - including the dog park idea - drew some criticism from the public, the park's designers said from the beginning that their goal was to incorporate as many different uses for people in the park plan as possible.

In addition to the dog park, bocce ball courts, tennis courts and a skate park were part of the park's conceptual plan. But several of those elements were left off the plan as the city narrowed costs preparing to move forward with construction. When McEuen Field is rebuilt next year, the infrastructure for those left-off elements will still be incorporated into the plan so they can be put in down the line if funding becomes available.

KCDPA said it wants to be the first component put back in the plan thanks to self-raised money.

"This is one of the pleasant surprises where we're at in the whole process," said Dick Stauffer, Team McEuen designer on the dog park reincorporating in the park plan thanks to donations, a trend he said he'd like to see continue. "They've energized their groups."

A citywide 2008 parks master plan study identified the need for off-leash dog parks as one of the three top requests by members of the community.

Nearly half of the households in Coeur d'Alene own a dog and some have more than one dog, the study found.

Since then, the KCDPA has built two off-leash dog parks, and last year Dog Fancy magazine gave the association $5,000 for its help in making Coeur d'Alene "the dog -friendliest town in the U.S."

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