Richland still waiting on $30,000 from Dog Park Society for expansion

Richland still waiting on $30,000 from Dog Park Society for expansion

On Monday crews began the expansion of Paws-Abilities Dog Park, completing the grubbing and clearing in just five days.

The Parks and Public Facilities department is expecting $30,000 from the Tri-City Dog Park Society, but hasn’t seen that money yet.

“We don’t have a check in hand, but there’s a commitment that they will contribute the funding and then exactly how that money transfers to the city is still yet to be determined,” said Joseph Schiessl, Parks and Public Facilities Director for the City of Richland.

The city has been finding funding and finalizing the project for the last decade. They budgeted $200,000 for the upgrade and expansion, with the promise that the Tri-City Dog Park Society would give $30,000.

“We don’t really start capital projects without having all the money in hand and so we’re confident that everything is lined up to get us there,” said Schiessl.

Schiessl said in the last conversation he had with representatives of the Tri-City Dog Park Society, they agreed to contribute “a little bit as the project progresses.”

“And that kind of thing could work for us,” said Schiessl.

Although the project adds 2.5 acres to the dog park, it is not adding more space for dogs to run.

“We’re actually not doubling the actual usage of the dog park because what we will do is open one side, let the dogs wear out the grass on that side, and then will close it and reopen the next side,” said Schiessl.

He called it more of a maintenance project.

The opening date of the original park is expected at the end of June. Signs put up in September when the park was closed stated it would reopen on April 1.

“We manage our assets based on community demand and there’s a ton of community demand,” said Schiessl.

Out of the 62 parks in Richland, Paws-Abilities and the skate park are the two most used.

Dog owners said they are excited to finally see the culmination of the city’s hard work.

As the project continues, another set of contractors will create a mow curb, install fencing, irrigation, and sod.

Schiessl said if for any reason the money falls through, some plans would need to change, including switching from sod to seed.