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March 18, 2010

March 16 City Council Meeting – Parks are a Shared Resource

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Tracy Doering @ 10:15 pm

One thing stood out in my mind Рour KDOG attendance numbers were somewhat lower at the most recent City Council meeting on Tuesday.  We need a much greater turnout on April 6th, so please attend and bring your family members and dog-loving friends with you.

At the March 16th meeting, Diane Rich gave persuasive public comments in support of KDOG and off-leash areas for Kirkland, and I know it was insightful for the City Council Members to hear from a Kirkland business owner/dog trainer (thank you, Diane). ¬†I also spoke and provided some carbon footprint calculations¬†done by KDOG’s AmeriCorps intern, Katie (merci beaucoup, Katie).

Jean of course spoke before the City Council (as always), and I am amazed and appreciative that she was able to do so, despite very recently having to say goodbye to her sweet beloved dog, Jasper. That must have been very difficult – she’s been working so hard for so long for a place for “Jaspy” and his Kirkland buddies to run and play¬†together.¬† Jasper is now running and playing at the Rainbow Bridge, but If the day comes when we have our park, some KDOG members have suggested to Jean that it be named “Jasper’s Park” – Jasper’s mommy certainly has worked very hard for it.¬† Quoting Jean, “It has seemed unlikely for a while that a park would be established in his lifetime but it’s more about what would be a great thing for Kirkland than for any one individual and their adorable loyal active little Jack Russell Terrier.”¬†¬† Thank you most of all, Jean – your activism, volunteerism and tireless efforts on behalf of your community are greatly¬†appreciated by many of us.

I’ll leave you all with a quote that Jean read in her comments before the City Council on Tuesday from¬†“The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs: ¬†“To understand cities, we have to deal outright with combinations or mixtures of uses, as the essential phenomena.¬† We have already seen the importance of this in the case of neighborhood parks.¬† Parks can easily – too easily – be thought of as phenomena in their own right and described as adequate or inadequate in terms, say, of acreage ratios to thousands of population.¬† Such an approach tells us something about the methods of park planners, but it tells us nothing useful about the behavior or value of neighborhood parks.”¬†¬†¬†Jean closed by stating, “Parks are a shared resource and serve cities best when they serve a mixture of uses, including off-leash recreation.”¬†¬† Bravo!

March 10, 2010

March 10 Park Board Meeting – Full Speed Ahead!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Tracy Doering @ 11:21 pm

Having sat¬†through now umpteen Kirkland City Council and Park Board meetings, I can finally say that after tonight’s Park Board¬†meeting, I am jazzed.¬† Yes, jazzed.¬† Super excited – excited about what the future might hold in terms of an off-leash dog park for Kirkland residents. ¬†And I am very much looking forward to¬†the April 6th City Council meeting (yes, seriously).

Throughout many of¬†these meetings, I’ve been thinking to myself I just don’t know – I just don’t know how Jean and Amy¬†have endured¬†so many of these over the past two-and-a-half years, maintaining even temperament and patience while¬†fighting back feelings of¬†disappointment and frustration, and after working so very¬†hard (countless volunteer hours) to make such a positive impact on our community of Kirkland.¬† I’ve sat through meeting after meeting trying to keep the angry scowl from overtaking my face, and I must admit I’ve been unsuccessful at times. There have been moments when I likened attendance at these meetings to enduring an unpleasant dental procedure, when the sound of¬†a drill grinding my teeth down would be more pleasant than listening to the¬†less-than-optimistic comments of the City Council members that made me question reality, made me question whether I’ve been in some crazy time warp for the past 13 years.¬† ¬†I’ve had to shrug off the impulse to gnaw on my wrist like my dog, Burton, gnaws on his Wiggly Giggly toy, chewing and twisting until he gets the certain squeak he wants out of it, the sound that’s unlike the other squeaks, the sound he wants to hear.

Well, that all changed tonight.¬† I was so overjoyed, my frown got turned upside down.¬†¬† ¬†I heard statements like, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” among many others, and they were said with commitment and conviction.¬†¬† Wow.¬†¬† A suitable potential site has been identified, and the Park Board will be asking for a public hearing on off-leash use of that site, and will also be asking the City Council for other sites to be identified for limited hours use (a second public hearing), and they mean it.¬† ¬†I heart the Park Board.

Stay tuned, and puhleease, puhleease attend the City Council meeting on April 6th.¬† All you need do is show up.¬†¬† They really do notice the numbers in attendance, and we’re at the mission critical stage.¬†¬† We have now over 750 signatures on the petition for Kirkland off-leash areas and KDOG is now over 200 members strong – we need to attend in full force on April 6th to show our unwavering commitment.¬†¬†¬†Quoting one of our forward-thinking Park Board members, “We owe¬†this to ourselves.”¬†¬† Full speed ahead!