Silverdale dog park aims for August opening

After months of waiting for permits, the new Silverdale Dog Park is taking shape, working its way toward an August 14 grand opening.

Meanwhile, Silverdale dog owners are itching for the park where they could let their dogs roam free.

The non-profit Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship, which independently coordinates the fundraising and construction for the park, has waited since May for the permit from Kitsap County that allows them to press forward with construction on the site at Silverdale Rotary Gateway Park, located on Silverdale Way north of the Waaga Way overpass.

The building approval came early last week and work began this week adding 14 new parking spots.

Deb Fleming, who owns five mixed-breed dogs — with the family photos from her wallet to prove it — said the new park is needed in an increasingly urbanized area where development is squeezing out open space for dogs.

“We have a lot more humans per square foot,” Fleming said, noting that newer houses and condominiums are often built closer together and are less friendly to dogs. “Your houses in a typical suburban area just don’t have the space. People are not going to stop getting pets.”

Jim McDonough, who owns three dogs, said the park will allow her dogs to safely run free, as opposed to other public parks that require her to bring along leashes. The fenced-in space will also eliminate the fear of a runaway.

“It’s going to be a nice outdoor place for them,” she said. “They’re just as much a part of your family as children. You want them in a safe environment.”

The park will also provide a social environment for dogs and their owners alike to interact, Fleming said.

Along with the delays in park construction, the Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship has also seen a decline in volunteers, Stewardship President Anita Bates said. But, now that progress is picking up again, she is confident the work will be done.

Mike McCown, vice president of the stewardship, said the park will not be entirely complete by the August 14 grand opening — Eagle Scouts will later build benches and an information kiosk — but it will be fenced and ready for the dogs to play.

The stewardship is also continuing its fundraising efforts. With $41,000 raised, it has exceeded its goal of raising $35,000, but more money will be needed for maintenance, landscaping, trash pickup and mowing — tasks that will be taken on by the stewardship and not the county.

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