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StarBulletin.com

Sewer fix stalls pooches' park at the Ala Wai


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POSTED: Monday, February 09, 2009

Question: We're dog owners who live near the proposed Ala Wai dog park area, and for quite some time the city has seemed to be dragging its feet on completing the project. The mayor's office has been ignoring requests for information or coming up with unsatisfactory excuses. An Ala Wai K-9 park association was formed providing volunteers to help with money, as well as manual labor, to help expedite the park's completion. Can you please try to get a timely, reliable response regarding the status of this park?

Answer: A permanent dog park in the Ala Wai Canal area is at least two to three years away.

But it's circumstances, not the city stalling, that's causing the delay, according to Shaunna Tabor, founder of the Ala Wai K-9 Playground Association.

For the interim, the nonprofit association is hoping to build a temporary park in the city-owned area between the canal and Ala Wai Community Gardens.

City officials “;are trying very hard to work with us in finding a location that would be OK to build a temporary park,”; Tabor said.

The problem with that is the association would “;literally have to build two separate parks, so our fundraising has to double.”;

Association leaders are scheduled to meet Wednesday with officials from the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

The city already has said it would provide 32,000 square feet of space at Ala Wai Park for an off-leash dog park.

But shortly after giving that commitment in 2006, officials said the area would be needed for up to five years as a storage site for its Ala Wai sewer project.

Until recently the proposed area for the temporary park also has been used by construction vehicles going to and from the sewer project. That's no longer happening, Tabor said.

At Wednesday's meeting the association will ask parks officials for use of that area as well as to ease requirements for a temporary dog park.

The Parks Department is requiring the association to meet the city's standards for a dog park, which include heavy-gauge fencing and a water fountain, Tabor said.

The association, citing costs, is asking permission to use “;a rent-a-fence type of thing,”; which is less costly because it is less sturdy, as well as to forgo the requirement for a water fountain.

Otherwise, the association faces having to raise double the funds it initially anticipated was needed.

So far, it has raised about $20,000, Tabor said.

Bids received to build a temporary park run between $25,000 to $30,000.

The initial estimate to build the permanent park is $75,000, although the association's share is expected to be about half that.

There's frustration because of the delays, Tabor acknowledged, “;but we also understand the need for the sewer project. ... Any time you're working with the city, there're things that have to be done their way, which sometimes causes a little bit of agony.”;