Edward B. Murray, Mayor
Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
For immediate release August 24, 2016
Contact: Christina Hirsch, 206-684-7241
The Board of Park Commissioners will hold a public hearing to receive feedback on the draft People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan. The meeting will take place at Miller Community Center on September 22, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
The draft People, Dogs and Parks Strategic Plan is available here. The plan will guide the operations of existing off-leash areas, and provides strategies for development of future off-leash areas. It provides direction on how to spend Seattle Park District funding designated for existing off-leash areas over the six-year term of the Park District funding plan (2015-2020).
The Board of Park Commissioners will receive oral and written testimony, and will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent based on the feedback they receive from the public.
Seattle currently has 14 fenced off-leash areas totaling 28 acres. The People, Dogs and Parks Plan offers recommendations on how to add new off-leash areas, and how to improve off-leash area conditions and user experience.
New off-leash areas may be added through new park development, existing park redevelopment and community requests, on park land or non-park public land. All new off-leash area proposals will be reviewed by a committee of dog- and environmental advocates, community members, animal behaviorists and Parks staff, who will make a recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
The Plan recommends that future off-leash areas be fenced, does not recommend allowing unleashed dogs on trails, and recommends against establishing more off-leash areas on beaches. User conflicts, limited enforcement and maintenance resources, and environmental concerns limit the capacity for adequate management of unleashed dogs in city parks outside of fenced off-leash areas.
The plan proposes the use of Seattle Park District funding to improve existing off-leash areas based on site assessments included in the plan, and to explore possibilities for partnerships and sponsorships to expand resources. It also proposes the creation of a license for dog walkers, and limiting the number of dogs in a dog-walker pack to three unless dog walkers complete an approved animal behavior training program.
Those who want to give input on the plan but are not able to come to the meetings can give written comments, which bear equal weight to verbal comments. Please email comments to [email protected].
Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites. 2016 is the first full year of implementation and there is work going on in every corner of the city. This year includes funding to tackle the $267-million major maintenance backlog, and will fund the improvement and rehabilitation of community centers; preservation of urban forests; major maintenance at the Aquarium and Zoo; day-to-day maintenance of parks and facilities; more recreation opportunities for people from underserved communities, programs for young people, people with disabilities, and older adults; development of new parks; and acquisition of new park land.
The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners is a nine-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Four members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; four members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is a young adult appointed by YMCA Get Engaged. The Board generally meets twice a month, normally on the second and fourth Thursday, to advise the Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor and the City Council on parks and recreation matters.