Dog lovers explore Carnation's new off-leash park

Welcoming pets and owners, Ann Estrin-Wassink breaks the ribbon at Carnation
Welcoming pets and owners, Ann Estrin-Wassink breaks the ribbon at Carnation's off-leash dog park.
— image credit: Carol Ladwig / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Carnation dog-lovers gathered Wednesday, July 27, in a celebration of dogs, their humans, and small-town community spirit. They came to cut the ribbon to the city's new off-leash dog park, or rather to watch a handful of dogs lick the peanut-butter-covered ribbon instead of chewing through it.

Finally, Ann Estrin-Wassink, who led the dog park project, decided to break the ribbon and let the dogs into the eight-acre park next to the city's wastewater treatment plant and vacuum station. Then the festivities and the tail-wagging began in earnest.

It was fitting that Estrin-Wassink did the honors, since she is largely responsible for making the park happen, entirely through volunteer efforts and donations. The Carnation business woman approached the city council in May with the idea of developing the city's unused land into a dog park, and found the volunteers and donations to support the idea.

Estrin-Wassink gave a brief speech thanking all of the people who contributed to the project, including:

• Jamie Clendenen, owner of screen-printing company InkGrotto, who donated the materials and made the sign at the main gate. He knew Estrin-Wassink because her business, Carnation Corners, was displaying some of his wife's work, and when she asked him to help, he said "Absolutely! Why wouldn't I?"

• Hal Hopkins, owner of Artistic Fence Company, who donated the fencing to completely enclose the park, along with his time, and his employee, David Row. Most of the park was already fenced by adjoining properties, so Hopkins estimates he provided about 300 lineal feet of fencing, almost all of it salvaged from previous fencing jobs. He and Row volunteered about 3 days of their time to complete the fence and build the two gates, on Wesley Larson Avenue, and on the trail connecting Tolt Mac-Donald Park and Entwistle Street. "It was a pleasure to do it," Hopkins said.

• Ace Hardware owners Bob and Ron Cox, who supplied the project's miscellaneous needs. "Bob here has just donated anything we asked for," said Estrin-Wassink.

• Kirsten Lints, owner of Gardens Alive Design, who gave the park a proposal for landscape design, for a future volunteer project;

• Collienne and Mike Becker, Carnation business owners who provided the dispenser for waste clean-up bags;

• Carnation Market/IGA, which donated the clean-up bags;

• City Manager Ken Carter and Todd Black, who gave Estrin-Wassink instruction, guidance, and information;

• The Carnation Chamber of Commerce, Carnation City Council, and Mayor Lee Grumman for their support of the park.

"This was such a great project, I have had no opposition whatsoever, and I really appreciate that," Estrin-Wassink said.

The council approved the temporary use of the city-owned land as an off-leash dog park at its June 21 meeting, in what several council members called a win all-around. No city funding was used to create the park, and ongoing maintenance costs are not expected to change significantly.

"We've had this land vacant for a while, and we've tried to think of ways to use it," Mayor Grumman said as she watched some 30 dogs and their people enjoying the park. "It's just so nice to have this land being used."

Since the park is officially only a temporary use, the sign and fencing were constructed to be easily taken apart, but now that the park is open, many think it would be difficult for the city to decide to take it back.

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