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Kids or dogs? With soccer proposal at dog park, Carnation tries not to choose

Charlene Noto, a Carnation resident and member of the Valley Off-Leash Association, rests on the bench in the garden area created by Boy Scout Michael Fisher at the Carnation off-leash dog park. Noto is opposed to playfield plans for the currently wide-open space. She hopes the non-profit association will educate people about the value of off-leash parks, and host a fundraiser to reimburse Fisher, who spent his own funds. - Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo
Charlene Noto, a Carnation resident and member of the Valley Off-Leash Association, rests on the bench in the garden area created by Boy Scout Michael Fisher at the Carnation off-leash dog park. Noto is opposed to playfield plans for the currently wide-open space. She hopes the non-profit association will educate people about the value of off-leash parks, and host a fundraiser to reimburse Fisher, who spent his own funds.
— image credit: Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

A proposed soccer park in Carnation is getting initial support from city officials, but a mixed reception from residents.

Carnation’s City Council voted Aug. 21 to send a letter of support to the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer Association, which proposed building a two-field, lighted soccer park on eight acres.

The fields would go on city property, currently home to the off-leash dog park that opened July 27, 2011.

Representatives of SnVYSA declined to comment for this story, but according to their presentation to the city council, the soccer park could bring up to 1,700 people, and with them, revenue, into Carnation each week from August through November, with some teams continuing through March. New fields are needed for the association, which enrolled 2,300 players, from ages 5 to 18, in 2010. The association website (www.snvysa.org) lists 127 soccer fields in its inventory between Duvall and North Bend.

In their proposal, the soccer association would build and maintain the fields and pay a lease on it to the city; Carnation’s only responsibility would be for garbage disposal, and maintenance of the portable toilets and parking lot.

The association also hoped to preserve the off-leash dog park within the northeast corner of the property. The city’s only responsibility to the volunteer-run dog park is periodic mowing and maintenance, and they receive no rent from the dog park.

For those financial reasons, Charlene, a founding member of the month-old Valley Off-Leash Association (http://valleyoffleash.org) is planning to look for a new home for an off-leash dog park in the Valley. She, like many dog owners, is assuming the worst.

“Nobody’s the bad guy here,” she said on a trip to the park recently. She sees the need for the city to make money, and for the association to make money by expanding its options. “The problem is people fell in love with this dog park, and they didn’t know it was only temporary.”

Noto was among dozens of residents who attended and spoke at council meetings in August. Many were in favor of the soccer park, Noto said, and she acknowledges their point about wanting the city to grow. However, she is skeptical, as is Councilwoman Lee Grumman, about the economic development benefits the association claims the city will see.

Grumman, who opposed the letter of support, said she wanted to protect the dog park and the natural area between the city’s property and Tolt-MacDonald Park, and wanted the city to grow in a way that fit the existing culture.

“I would prefer that we got really clear on the market that we want to attract to Carnation… and build to them,” Grumman said. She described that market as meandering explorers of their surroundings. “They’re people who are looking for an experience.”

Other residents spoke in opposition to the noise, light, and air pollution that could accompany the soccer park and and its users. A June 2012 traffic study on Tolt Avenue found that Carnation averaged 500 or more cars per hour from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a peak of nearly 900 cars between 5 and 6 p.m. The soccer park could add up to 90 vehicles per hour to Carnation’s streets on Mondays and Thursdays, and about 40 per hour on weekends.

Carnation has not committed to bringing in a soccer park or dooming its dog park, however, says City Manager Ken Carter.

The soccer park is just a proposal, he said, and it’s liable to change as the city begins to explore the idea in detail.

“We really haven’t even started as a city or a council to begin to say ‘OK, what are the issues with a soccer park proposal?’ It’s just a concept at this point,” he said.

Support for the dog park continues, too. Carter and city staff will meet with King County Parks representatives in September to discuss moving the dog park to land in Tolt-MacDonald Park.

 

 

In this initial draft of a proposal to build soccer fields on the site of the Carnation dog park, the small area at the top left corner of the site was designated for the dog park.

Stacy Allik throws a ball, fetched by her pup Ranger, at the Carnation off-leash dog park. Now that school has started, she and her daughter Carissa, 5, come to the park nearly every day to give Ranger some exercise. The Entwhistle dog park may shrink under plans to build two soccer fields.

 

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