Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy signed an agreement Thursday with the City of University Place that clears the way for an interim off-leash area for dogs at the county-owned Chambers Creek Properties.
According to the agreement, the city will provide the funds and permits necessary to construct the facility. Fencing, gates, and signage are needed to secure nearly one acre of county property for the off-leash area near the popular Central Meadow. In April, the city signed a Memorandum of Agreement with a local group called Safe, Unleashed and Natural Dogs (SUNDogs) to raise the $12,000 needed to prepare the site. University Place, through SUNDogs, has also agreed to monitor the interior of the fenced dog area.
Local dog owners have pressed for an interim site until permanent off-leash areas in the Master Site Plan are constructed. The first permanent site, located in the North Beach area, is slated to open in late 2010.
“This public-private partnership is a win-win-win for local governments, local residents and man’s best friend,” McCarthy said. “Representatives of Pierce County’s Public Works and Utilities Department, the City of University Place and SUNDogs did a great job of pulling this together. We’re making steady progress toward the grand vision for Chambers Creek Properties.”
“This facility will meet a huge recreational need, and the city is pleased to partner with Pierce County and SUNDogs to help make the off-leash area possible,” said University Place Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Klosowski. “These days especially, it just makes good economic sense to form partnerships for the common good.”
The three-party deal involves two agreements. Pierce County, which owns the property, signed a Memorandum of Agreement with University Place that allows for placement of the temporary off-leash dog facility. The city then signed a Memorandum of Agreement with SUNDogs, a nonprofit established in 2005 to promote responsible pet ownership and to create an off-leash site at Chambers Creek Properties. Under the agreement, SUNDogs agrees to raise money to pay for construction of the gateway and fencing, pick up dog waste and litter, and provide volunteers to maintain the park, and to resolve complaints.
The off-leash area will be open to the public during daylight hours, though it may be closed during events at the Central Meadow.
The opening date for the temporary site is still to be determined. SUNDogs is collecting donations and is ready to proceed with the project. They would like to have the off-leash area ready by early June.
“Thanks to a loan from an anonymous supporter, we’re ready to start building,” said Rod Giffels, chairman of SUNDogs. “This space will give families and dogs in our community a place to relax, socialize and enjoy the outdoors.”
Central Meadow is not intended to be a permanent off-leash site, and the interim facility will remain in place no longer than the end of 2014.
The temporary off-leash area will be the latest amenity added to the county’s 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties, the former site of a gravel pit that operated for a century. Besides the dog recreation area, Pierce County is preparing to open bidding for a project to build a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks and thus make two miles of Puget Sound shoreline accessible to the public. The adjacent Chambers Bay golf course is preparing to host the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open championships. And countless people are enjoying the three-mile Soundview and Grandview trail system, the North Meadow and Central Meadow, and the Chambers Bay Grill.
More information about the permanent off-leash facilities planned at Chambers Creek Properties can be found at www.piercecountywa.org/ccp.