Ala Wai school opposes dog park
Supporters of the plan say they are trying to cooperate
Ala Wai Elementary School officials are objecting to a nonprofit group's proposal for a dog park within nearby Ala Wai Community Park.
"We need a backyard for our dogs," said Shaunna Tabor, president of the Ala Wai K-9 Playground Association, which is comprised of dog owners who reside in a dense high-rise area, primarily on the makai end of University Avenue.
In March, association members proposed a 32,000-square-foot dog park be developed at the Diamond Head end of the park, next to the school. But school officials opposed it, said Ronald Lockwood, chairman of the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board.
For almost a year, discussion between members of the association, Principal Charlotte Unni of Ala Wai School and members of the Friends of Ala Wai School Parent, Teacher, Student Association Board have been held before the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board without progress on the development of a city off-leash dog park.
The McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board will revisit the issue at 7 p.m. tomorrow during its monthly meeting at King William Lunalilo Elementary School, 810 Pumehana St.
Lockwood said he hopes a resolution can be reached.
Unni and members of the Friends of the Ala Wai School PTSA Board cited health and safety concerns of students in their opposition to the dog park, he said. Disruption during class time and the A+ after-school program were also cited as concerns.
Unni and Darryl Young, president of the Ala Wai School PTSA Board, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Tabor said the association has tried to work with the school and the city. The group proposed operating the dog park only from 5 p.m. to sunset on schooldays and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on non-schooldays.
Members of the association also agreed to cover the costs of developing the dog park through private donations. Cost is estimated at $30,000 to pay for a chain-link fence to surround the dog park, double-entry gates, irrigation and landscaping. Costs would also go toward improvement work of the park's drainage that causes back-up during rainfall.
"We are really trying to be good neighbors," Tabor said.
Association members collected more than 140 signatures in support of the dog park. Lockwood said the presence of dogs and their owners have deterred homeless people and drug dealing in the park.
So far, there are two city off-leash dog parks at Mililani Mauka District Park and Moanalua Community Park, said Les Chang, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.