Parks and Rec board to talk dog parks at Aug. 13 meeting

Monday, August 13, 2018 - 12:22
  • Seabolt Place in Eagle River borders Fire House Park, where the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors would like to add a dog park. The park already includes tennis courts, but the board would like to add the dog park to the wooded area at far left. There are three homes on Seabolt, and all three homeowners have said they’re opposed to adding a dog park because of the potential for increased noise and traffic in the area. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

The ongoing debate over dog parks in Eagle River is set to resume.

After taking July’s meeting off, the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 13 at the Eagle River Town Center Building.

In addition to its regular agenda items — including a regular monthly update on the McDonald Center from facility manager Reid McDonald — the board will discuss an ongoing plan to bring dog parks to municipal land in Chugiak-Eagle River.

The discussion has been ongoing for more than a year. Earlier this year, a consultant for the board produced a draft site selection study that recommended turning two pieces of municipal parkland into off-leash dog parks. The two sites chosen — at Peters Creek Park and on parkland at the corner of Fire House Lane and Seabolt Lane — would be built simultaneously to accommodate the most users, according to board discussions.

But while the Peters Creek location has gotten little opposition, the Fire House Lane site has been panned by neighbors who say it will increase traffic, noise and congestion in the area. In May, several neighbors showed up at a public open house to express their displeasure with the plan. Their opposition wasn’t new — several members of the same group were successful in getting the parks board to back off a proposal to build a skate park on the land in 2013.

The dog parks aren’t a done deal, but the board has indicated at previous meetings it hopes to go forward with both parks in the near future. However, the plan is still under discussion and the public can weigh in on the proposals — or anything else involving local parks management — at the monthly public meeting.

The parks board meets regularly at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month. It’s tasked with overseeing 16 developed and 13 undeveloped parks in Chugiak-Eagle River encompassing more than 2,500 acres of municipal parkland. Local parks include 32 kilometers of groomed ski/multiuse trails, 11 picnic shelters, 14 athletic fields and courts; as well as the Chugiak Pool, the Beach Lake Chalet and the Harry J. McDonald Center. The board decided not to meet in July due to the summer.

For more information, visit muni.org. To view the site selection criteria, visit muni.org/Departments/ERparks/Documents/DogParksSelectionCriteriaAppendix.pdf.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected]

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