When Anita Bates began circulating a petition for a dog park, she had no idea the response would be so overwhelming.
“When I brought the petition out, people started coming out of the woodwork,” she said. “Everyone wanted it, but didn’t know what to do to help.”
Bates, president of the Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship, and her team of volunteers are forging ahead to create a two-acre, fenced-in dog park at Gateway Park on Silverdale Way.
She first circulated a petition in March and had more than 1,200 signatures by June. She soon presented the idea to Kitsap County commissioners.
“When I presented this to Steve Bauer and Josh Brown they loved it, they loved the passion,” Bates said.
While the south end of the county has several dog parks, central and northern Kitsap have limited opportunities for dogs and their owners.
“You have only one other dog park north of the Silverdale mall and that’s Raab Park and it’s a very small park,” Bates said.
The Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship meets monthly and is already raising money to build the dog park. Bates said they are hoping county commissioners will sign a memorandum of understanding before Christmas, which will serve as the official green light for the Silverdale Dog Park.
“Once it’s signed, we’ll feel more comfortable going after some grants,” Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship Vice President Mike McCown said.
The Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship is a nonprofit organization and the dog park will be constructed with money raised and donated by its supporters.
“This is fully funded by the stewardship,” McCown said. “There are no county bucks involved.”
The stewardship has already raised nearly $3,500, but Bates said it will take roughly $25,000 to build the dog park.
“And that’s the very basic plan of our park,” she said.
The Silverdale Dog Park will have two acres of fenced-in land, including a small dog area and an agility section.
“It wouldn’t just be a park where you come and let your dogs run around,” Bates said.
“We’re creating a new standard for developing dog parks in the area,” Bates said.
McCown said they’d like to have a larger area, but a larger location near the heart of Silverdale isn’t available.
“We didn’t want to be out in the boonies somewhere,” Bates said. “This site is close, it’s convenient, it’s right there.”
Bates stumbled across the section of land one day and there were already people taking their dogs there, so it seemed like the perfect location.
“You cannot go out there any hour of any day and not find some dogs out there,” she said.
Bates said if county commissioners do not approve Gateway Park as the site, they’ve offered to find another location.
“I don’t think we’re going to have to be looking for another site though,” she said.
If the memorandum of understanding is signed by the end of this year, Bates is hopeful the Silverdale Dog Park will be up and running by next summer.
The Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship is hosting a fundraising event at Famous Dave’s, located at 3276 NW Plaza Road in Silverdale, 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19. Present a voucher to the server to have 20 percent of the total bill donated to the Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship.
Vouchers are available at Naturally 4 Paws, Reid Real Estate and online at www.SilverdaleDogPark.com.
A Silverdale Dog Park donation box is available at Naturally 4 Paws. Reid Real Estate will advertise future Silverdale Dog Park fundraisers on its reader board.