By Zach Hagadone
Area dog owners are getting closer to having a space in south Sandpoint to run their animals off-leash, with the city of Sandpoint moving forward on installing a water-accessible dog park adjacent to the boat launch at Lakeview Park.
City officials hosted a community workshop on the dog park plan Sept. 19 and launched a survey to gather public feedback. The survey will remain open through Friday, Sept. 30, accessible at slido.com by entering project code No. 3200552.
Among the questions on the survey are assessing how important the public feels it is for dogs to access the waterfront behind War Memorial Field, asking what amenities dog owners would like to see there and whether dogs should have water access at the location.
A dog park on the under-utilized piece of land between the boat launch bathrooms and treatment plant was envisioned in the Parks and Recreation Plan, adopted in August 2020, but has been talked about at City Hall at least since 2017.
In the plan, off-leash dog areas were described as among “the fastest growing parks” and typically community driven. “A real dog park” was listed among the community’s desired parks and rec. improvements, with dog owners identified as under-served by the current parks inventory.
In addition to the Lakeview Park/War Memorial Field dog park, the plan also recommended establishing a dog area “somewhere within north Sandpoint,” and estimated the budget impact to be between $185,000 and $200,000, though capital cost estimates would depend on the amenities.
The Sandpoint City Council in May 2021 approved an amendment to City Code loosening the rules about where and when dogs could be allowed on public properties, including certain areas of City Beach. Currently, dogs are permitted on-leash and under control by their handlers on city rights of way; the Windbag and City Beach marinas; Lakeview and Hickory parks; the Sports Complex pathway, which runs through Travers, Centennial and Great Northern parks; and the City Beach pathway.
At the latter two locations, in addition to parking lots, dogs are allowed only on the pathways between Sept. 15 and April 15 — they are not to roam on the grassy or sandy areas of either parks, nor are they permitted on playground areas, sports courts or inside the fence at War Memorial Field.
Dogs are currently allowed off-leash on the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail and Mickinnick trailhead.
To take part in the dog park survey, go to slido.com and enter project code No. 3200552.
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