The Burien City Council will be going to the dogs – again – on Monday, Feb. 2


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B-TownDogSitIn

The Burien City Council is going to the dogs once again – this time on Monday, Feb. 2.

A few years ago (read our previous coverage here), city lawmakers were hounded by several dogs and their owners at a regular council meeting. That time, the canines and their people were trying to convince councilmembers to approve an on-leash dog park in the city.

The dogs are returning in triumph on Feb. 2 as Kellie Bassen, chair of B-Town Dog Group, will present the city with a $15,000 check for the dog park.

The check represents the amount Bassen’s group agreed to raise for the off-leash park. The city will match the group’s amount and a Burien business is expected to contribute the remaining amount needed in exchange for naming rights.
The off-leash facility will be located in the upper portion of Lakeview Park, 422 SW 160th Street.

The nonprofit group is asking owners to bring their well-behaved dogs to the 7 p.m. council meeting at city hall (400 SW 152nd Street), not only to celebrate but also to urge lawmakers to budget park construction for this year instead of 2016.

After a couple of years of holding bake sales, rummage sales, auctions, dog Christmas stocking sales and other fundraising efforts, the citizens group was making slow steady progress toward its money goal. City officials did not anticipate the group would raise the $15,000 by the end of 2014.

The last time dogs gathered at a Burien City Council meeting was Oct. 1, 2012.

But a new GoFundMe web crowd sourcing campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/h4cp3o) along with several generous donations by local residents and businesses suddenly catapulted the group to its goal.

This is the first public/private partnership in Burien’s history to use a crowd sourcing campaign to raise money, according to parks director Michael Lafreniere.

The fundraising and web campaigns are not over. The group plans to help with litter pickup, landscaping, park-user instruction and pet education classes once the park is opened.

Lafreniere emphasizes there are several more steps before park construction can begin:

Council members need to amend the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to budget construction in 2015.

The council needs to approve a lease amendment with Highline Public Schools. The city has a 40-year lease for the property with the school district. The property is the former site of an elementary school.

The city needs to sign a maintenance and operations agreement with the B-Town Dog group.

The city needs to also sign an agreement with the local business for naming rights.

But before the details are hammered out, there is likely to be some joyful howling at the Feb. 2 council meeting.

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