‘Back to square one’ for off-leash dog park in west Olympia

Plans for a new off-leash dog park on Olympia’s west side have temporarily come to a halt.

In May, The Olympian reported that the city was working with a property owner to lease a potential dog park site. Associate parks director David Hanna said this week that the site was taken off the table because of unforeseen development costs.

The site formerly under consideration is located along Highway 101, just east of Kaiser Road and south of Ninth Avenue Southwest. The extra expenses for building a dog park included paving an access road to the site, along with seeking construction bids, Hanna said.

The paved road would have cost $40,000, but the project’s total budget was $100,000, Hanna said.

“We’re back to square one; we’ll go back and keep looking and see if there’s some place to get this done,” Hanna said. “We were concerned that we were going to invest too much money for a site that was going to be leased.”

The site is owned by Dr. Angela Bowen. She said a 3-acre portion of the undeveloped land would be a good place for dogs to run.

“There aren’t many multi-acre parcels left in the city limits for a dog park,” said Bowen, adding that she was disappointed the plan didn’t work out for her site.

An off-leash dog park has been listed among the top criteria for a new community park in Olympia. The Olympia City Council recently allocated $60,000 to study five potential park sites.

“We’re still pursuing and trying to find a good location for a dog park,” parks director Paul Simmons told The Olympian. “If we can fit it into the new community park, that would be ideal.”

In May 2013, Olympia’s last official off-leash dog park closed at Sunrise Park, 505 Bing St. NW. The 1-acre fenced-in dog park opened in October 2010, but generated complaints from neighbors due to traffic, noise and smell.

South Sound’s only official off-leash dog park is located near the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center, at 2420 Hogum Bay Road NE, Lacey.