Kirkland's first off-leash area -- Jasper's Dog Park -- officially opened Saturday after some five years of grassroots organizing, lobbying, cajoling and fundraising by the citizen's group KDOG.
"We're just elated," said Tracy Doering, a board member of KDOG -- Kirkland Off-Leash Dog Group. "It's been a long haul."
The park is on two acres of city-owned land next to the Heronfield Wetlands greenbelt, its entrance at the corner of NE 120th St and 113th Avenue NE in the Totem Lake area. After years of lobbying by KDOG, the Kirkland City Council in November of 2010 approved the use of the land, but stipulated that no city money could be used in creating the park. See this earlier Patch story about the effort.
Now some 14 months later, after thousands of hours of volunteer work and funded by donations of money and materials, Jasper's Dog Park -- named for KDOG President Jean Guth's late Jack Russell terrier -- is a reality.
"This wasn't going to happen unless we did it," noted Doering. "And Jean knew how to do it and grew the grass roots."
Guth thanked individuals and businesses that helped the effort before Mayor Joan McBride cut the ribbon at the gate of the fenced off-leash area. The dog and owners were let in, and finally the dogs allowed off-leash.
"This group is so committed," said City Councilman Dave Asher. "To put this much sweat equity in this park, it's amazing."
See the opening of Jasper's Dog Park yourself in the attached photo gallery here.