Lifestyle

Volunteers fetch fountain for Federal Way dog park

Warren Laine and his standard poodle, Suzie, play at French Lake Park’s off-leash dog park on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Suzie retrieved and chewed tennis balls after chasing them across an open green field. The park is located on 1st Avenue South, north of South 320th Street.  - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Warren Laine and his standard poodle, Suzie, play at French Lake Park’s off-leash dog park on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Suzie retrieved and chewed tennis balls after chasing them across an open green field. The park is located on 1st Avenue South, north of South 320th Street.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

Water amenities are on tap for Federal Way’s only official off-leash dog park.

The non-profit volunteer group Park Pals is raising money to install a drinking fountain for humans and dogs this summer at French Lake Park. The fountain will provide fresh water for park patrons, and ideally, should reduce the number of discarded plastic cartons that are often used to carry water.

Park Pals needs $3,500 to purchase the fountain, and is working to secure a grant. Park Pals will also pay the fountain’s water bill, said president JoAnn Hugill.

“When you talk to the park patrons, they tell you what they want. For the last few years, that’s all we heard about,” said Hugill, noting that the drinking fountain costs $5,053. “This is something we have worked hard on.”

French Lake Park opened as an official off-leash dog park in summer 2005. Located off 1st Avenue South between South 320th Street and South 312th Street, the 10-acre fenced-in park is owned by Federal Way and the Lakehaven Utility District. The property had been informally used as an off-leash dog park since the 1990s.

The park remains a popular haven for Federal Way dog owners. Warren Laine and his standard poodle, Suzie, played at the park on a sunny Tuesday afternoon last week. Suzie retrieved and chewed tennis balls after chasing them across an open green field with a few mud puddles.

If he could change one thing about the park, Laine would fill in those muddy patches with gravel.

“It’s kept pretty clean,” he said of the park, which is maintained by the city.

Before the off-leash park opened in Federal Way, Laine and Suzie — who was featured as Miss May in the Park Pals 2010 calendar — would drive nearly 20 miles to an off-leash park in Steilacoom. Now the two visit the Federal Way dog park about twice a week.

“It was a chore,” he said of formerly driving to Pierce County with his dog. “But in those days, gas wasn’t $4 a gallon.”

The next project on the list for Park Pals involves the renovation of a large pond on the property. Although still in the planning stages, the project would include a waterfall with a pump that cleans and recirculates the pond’s water. Hugill said the pond project will take a couple of years to materialize and could cost at least $11,000.

Backed by an eight-member board of directors, Park Pals has raised money for the projects by selling bricks engraved with the names of pets and their owners. Volunteers will eventually lay the bricks near two benches at the park, Hugill said.

The city has spent at least $20,000 to address residents’ concerns of mud, noise and security at the park, according to a 2009 report in The Mirror. Much of that related work involved landscaping for aesthetic purposes as well as creating visual and sound barriers between the park and nearby homes.

This weekend at the dog park

Park Pals will host a fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (May 21-22) at French Lake Dog Park. Volunteers will sell dog cookies and dog treat cookbooks to help raise money for park improvement projects. Park Pals will hold more fundraisers and events this year, with plans to host a Halloween party and sell a 2012 calendar.

To learn more about Park Pals, send email to president@parkpals.org or visit www.parkpals.org.

 

 

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