The effort is at its puppy stage, but there is the beginning of an effort to establish a public dog park in Montesano.
Kamma Maldonado is among a group at Grays Harbor Veterinary clinic — located just inside Montesano’s eastern city limits — hoping to launch a grassroots effort to build a multi-acre dog park that she believes is needed and could even attract travelers to pay the city a visit.
Maldonado made a “very preliminary” presentation to the city’s Parks Board earlier this month and is hoping to rally any supporters of the idea to the next meeting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 4, at Montesano City Hall, in order to form a working coalition of interested dog lovers.
“We hope to put together a committee of people who have either knowledge or experience in making something like this happen,” Maldonado said. “We are trying to get a conversation going in the community and to get a group of people together to have this vision realized, to kind of get the ball rolling.”
Ideally, according to Maldonado, the facility would be two to three acres, fully secured by 6-foot fencing, with at least two entrances/exits. There would be benches for seating, separate areas to run for large or small dogs, watering stations, shady areas and waste-disposal stations. She’s hoping that in-kind donations and plenty of volunteer labor can keep costs down.
Maldonado believes the dog park could become a needed attraction, saying it would definitely attract dog-owning travelers passing through on their way too or from the beaches and, for locals, it would be a fun place for dog owners to gather, while also relieving pressure from city parks that aren’t designed as dog runs.
“It would be a place for recreation and socialization for dogs and it would help some of the areas that are being used now as dog runs, which is not the intended use of a ball field. It should help.”
Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said he’s heard of the idea, but understands it’s early in the discussion process and is not sure what the city role could be.
“Personally, I like the idea,” Estes said. “I feel it could be a good idea to get rid of some of the dog poo in our other parks. That’s been one of the big complaints about the ball fields.”
The veterinary clinic — owned by veterinary doctors Timothy and Sonnya Crawford — has a parcel of adjacent land that would be suitable, but some sort of lease — like for $1 — would have to be worked out with the city as the owners do not want to simply donate the land to the city, and Maldonado is not sure if that sort of arrangement is possible.
Estes said he’s heard that organizers are hoping the city will pay for the fencing and other infrastructure, but he’s not sure that’s possible.
“It requires chain-link fencing that right now the city doesn’t have the funds for,” the mayor added.
Asked if such a park would pose any liability concerns for the city, Estes said he wasn’t certain.
“It has not been researched because there hasn’t been any sort of proposal; it’s just a discussion at this point,” Estes noted.
Maldonado said part of the effort would be to identify and study potential sites.
Grays Harbor County does not currently have any dedicated dog parks. Wesport Winery, a dog-friendly business, advertises that it has a “dog park,” but it is nothing on the scale being discussed here. It amounts to about a 20-foot-by-40-foot grassy area with a bench, sanitary station and a 3-foot-tall fence surrounding the small enclosure.
Maldonado said anybody interested in joining the effort can contact her at the veterinary office (360) 249-4840 or through the Grays Harbor Veterinary Clinic facebook page.