The boundaries of a proposed off-leash dog park area at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood will be shifted a bit to the west and extended a bit to the north to accommodate the wishes of several nearby residents who worried that animal waste, noise and possibly aggressive dogs could affect their property values and make their neighborhood less safe. A group calling itself Put People First, comprised mostly of residents who live on Elmwood Drive which is adjacent to Fort Steilacoom Park and the area where the off-leash dog park would be located, asked the Lakewood City Council to make the changes. Councilmembers talked with the Protect Our Pets group, which supports the off-leash dog park, to make sure the boundary shift would be agreeable. It was, and both sides walked away satisfied.
The proposed off-leash dog park area would take up a 22-acre section of Fort Steilacoom Park. It would be fenced all around and dogs would not be able to leave the area without a leash. Dog owners would be able to use the rest of Fort Steilacoom Park for walking as long as they kept their dogs on leashes.
Building a basic fence and installing some of the minimum park amenities will cost about $16,000. The Protect Our Pets group has raised $10,000 of that and hopes to have contributions from Lakewood, University Place, Pierce County, Steilacoom and Metro Parks Tacoma to build a shelter, a water fountain, benches and dog activity areas so the park can become a regional destination for those who wish to let their pooches run free. So far, however, none of the governmental agencies has put forth any money.