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Off-leash park decision delayed; some fear idea dead

"Proponents of an off-leash dog park here will have to wait a little longer to find out whether a city committee believes their pooches should run free.Members of the Parks and Recreation Commission declined this week to make a recommendation on whether a dog park should be created. They also were examining where to put such a park, and whether one should be created by the city or in partnership with surrounding cities or the county.Commission members reviewed comments and opinions from residents at their Nov. 2 meeting, and plan to give their findings to a City Council park committee on Monday.There seems to be some support in the community, said Parks and Recreation Commission Chairwoman Dini Duclos. ... We will give those findings to the council committee. We're just asking for more guidance. Some people feel it should be regional and some feel it should be local.Duclos said she is eager to hear from the council committee and awaits further direction from them on the subject.Our authority is only to make a recommendation to the committee for this, Duclos said. There is an awful lot of hard work involved, like what would make a successful off-leash dog park. We need to look into facts and spend a lot of time on it. But before we do that, we want to make sure that that's what the council committee wants.Commission member Marion Bartholomew says he is extremely disappointed by the commission's lack of recommendation to the council committee.I don't care if the city has one or not, Bartholomew said. ... My take is that a dog park is dead in the city of Federal Way.Bartholomew says he would like to see a City Council member sponsor an off-leash dog park. That way, the issue will more likely gain support and we'd have a park overnight.That's all it takes, he said. I don't see it happening now.But City Councilman Mike Hellickson said he would like to see the process of a commission-to-committee recommendation play out before anyone on the council steps in. While Hellickson says he has not formed his own opinion on an off-leash dog park, he would like to see more information on the issue.The reason, my guess, no one has sponsored a bill is because that's why we have a committee/commission structure, Hellickson said. To do it the other way around it would usurp the responsibilities of both the committee and commission. "

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