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A lot more work to do before dog park gets its day in Monte

By David Haerle

The Vidette

At many pedigree dog shows, canine competitors must clear a series of hurdles as part of the process.

Organizers of an effort to establish a municipal dog park in Montesano are facing a similar series of obstacles if they hope to see their vision come to fruition any time soon.

On Wednesday, June 4, Kamma Maldonado and Sonnya Crawford of the Grays Harbor Veterinary clinic — located just inside Montesano’s eastern city limits — presented and discussed their vision at length with the City of Montesano Parks Board at its regular monthly meeting.

The idea fell on receptive, but cautious ears, as board members noted there are several challenges to opening such a facility, especially a multi-acre one as envisioned by Maldonado and Crawford.

“We were hoping to get a conversation going to find out what would be required … for this kind of project to be incorporated in the city, mostly for liability reasons,” Crawford told the Parks Board.

Crawford said she and her husband own a suitable piece of land for such a facility, but would want it to be under city auspices and would be willing to do a “nominal lease” of the land to the city for something like $1 per year.

“It’s sitting there and not getting used for anything,” she said of the multi-acre parcel that would have to be cleared of trees, fenced and follow all city setback regulations in regards to the well water and septic systems on the property.

Since it would fall under recreational use, the city’s insurance liabilities would be neglible, Park Board members determined, but there would still be many other hurdles to clear before the idea could become a reality.

“Insurance-wise, I think there would be little or no impact said Mike Wincewicz, the city’s community development director. “It would be minimal.”

“The main thing I think I see is the city has no money,” said board Chairman Rick Pitt. “We’re struggling to maintain the facilities we have now. … I don’t see the city putting a lot of effort or money into this. Ultimately, it would have to go to the city council.”

The two Montesano city council members who serve on the board, Tyler Timble and Chris Hutchings, seemed supportive of the idea.

“Why not bring something that’s going to benefit the city and community?” Trimble said. “Why not do this? It makes sense to me. I think it can work itself out.”

Park board members said due to the city’s tight budget, the organizing group would be likely on its own funding-wise and would have to either form a non-profit organization or find a local one to sponsor the project in order to do the donation-based funding part of the project.

Pitt suggested that any volunteer group that forms around this cause has some homework to do, suggesting the first steps would be to get estimates to clean and grade the property and estimates to fence it.”

“And what’s it going to cost to sponsor it,” said Pitt, who supports the idea. “Get those things checked off and make a presentation to the city council. I think it’s a no-brainer, but who knows.”