Dog park to open this year

By Sara Bruestle | Jul 03, 2012

It’s been a long-time dream of Sally Osborn’s for Mukilteo to have its own dog park. After three years of effort, that dream is finally coming true.

Construction is underway for an off-leash dog park in Japanese Gulch, just off 5th Street. It is scheduled to open later this year.

The Japanese Gulch Group project includes grading of a meadow to create a 0.75-acre dog park and parking lot on city owned land in the gulch between 5th and 9th streets. The parking lot will be closed until the grading is completed this week.

“It’s very exciting,” Osborn said. “Every day, I go by there, and it’s progress. It’s really happening.

“It just puts a smile on my face. It puts a smile on a lot of people’s faces downtown.”

Last year, the City Council added the dog park to the Japanese Gulch Master Plan. The plan allows for 33,100 square feet of fenced open space for people to bring their dogs for exercise and social interaction, said Patricia Love, assistant director of community development.

Love said park plans include posted off-leash rules, entry and exit gates, a shy dog area, dog agility course, mutt mitts, benches, waste receptacles and a shed. She said the parking lot will be expanded from 15 to 46 parking spaces.

However, those amenities of the off-leash park will vary over time, based on needs and volunteer availability, Love said.

Osborn said the community has made the project possible. The dog park is being constructed for free by Grady Excavating Inc. The Himalayan Corp. – which makes the Himalayan Dog Chew – donated $5,000 to the project.

“They’re huge dog lovers, too, and they’re just really excited,” Osborn said. “Isn’t that amazing? That’s huge.”

Snohomish County Parks has also donated 350 feet of fencing from its Willis Tucker Dog Park. Another 500 feet of fencing is needed.

“It’s perfect for sustainability,” Love said.

Osborn used to take her Golden Retriever, Nautica, to the grassy area at the old Rosehill Community Center to run around. When that was gone, it was time to find a new place to play.

Her mission for a dog park in Mukilteo soon became a mission of the Japanese Gulch Group, and the Tails and Trails Mukilteo Dog Park Committee was formed.

“Why should we have to go to another city to play or go to an off-leash dog park, when we can have our own in Mukilteo?” Osborn asked.

Other sponsors include the city of Mukilteo, Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce, Mukilteo Arts Guild and Waterfront Wednesdays.

“It’s become a huge effort. It’s great,” Osborn said. “Everyone is spreading the word. Everyone is excited about seeing it develop. Everybody is wanting to help.”

The Japanese Gulch Group has raised nearly $9,000, including a $1,500 community grant from the city. Its goal is to raise about $6,000 more.

Donation cans are located throughout the city at the Chamber of Commerce, Muddy Paws, Pet Pros, Mukilteo Veterinary Hospital, and Back to Health Chiropractic.

Tails and Trails T-shirts ($15) and bandanas ($5) are available at Muddy Paws, with the proceeds going to the dog park.

“It’s been a lot of hard work every day, but hard work pays off,” Osborn said. “I’m on a mission. I’ll never give up on this until it’s done. It’s a dream.”

Dog park sponsors are hosting a Mukilteo Pet Parade on July 18 and Aug. 15. The events are free. Meet at the Art Building at 724 1st Street at 6 p.m. Dog costumes are encouraged.

If you would like to volunteer or donate, contact dogpark@japanesegulch.org.

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