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Burien dogs bark their thanks, give $15,000 to city at council meeting

Photo courtesy City of Burien. [1]

Photo courtesy City of Burien.

by Jack Mayne [2]

The Burien City Council went to the dogs again Monday night (Feb. 2) when Kellie Bassen, chair of the B-Town Dog Owners Group (D.O.G.) gave the city a $15,000 check for a dog park to be located in the upper portion of Lakeview Park.

As The B-Town Blog previously reported [3], the check represented the amount Bassen’s group agreed to raise for the off-leash park and the city pledged it would match the group’s amount and a Burien business is expected to contribute the remaining amount needed in exchange for naming rights.

“We have had two years of fundraising, bake sales, auctions, raffles and even an outdoor rummage sale in a monsoon,” she told the Council.

“I would like to request tonight that the dog park project be placed on the 2015 budget,” Bassen said. The Council approved the matching funds but it was moved to the 2016 budget out of fear the dog owners would not finish their fundraising by this year.

Moving the money back to 2015 would allow the project first phase to be completed, Bassen said, “and get the park into use ASAP.” It will be in the park at 422 SW 160th Street.

‘Let the dogs run’
Rob Johnson, Burien Parks and Recreation Board member, said the project for dog park took two years and told the Council he hoped it could move to get the project underway “and build the fences and let the dogs run.”

Park Board member Eric Matheson said the group was looking to the Council to move the completion date from is current schedule in 2016 to this year after doing “what nobody thought we could” by completing their fund raising goal last year.

“Maybe we can get the park … construction in 2015,” he said. Nothing his leashed companion, Otto, he said getting a lot of exercise running free and, “more importantly, I don’t have to exercise too much.”

Former Councilmember and deputy mayor Jack Block Jr. urged the Council to “move forward and expedite building this park” to recognize all the hard work people have put into the project.

Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Ed Dacy said the dogs group has “done a fabulous job,” and that there will be proposal to the Council to move the money into the current capital budget.

Here are some photos by Scott Schaefer of Monday night’s barkfest:

City Manager Kamuron Gurol takes a photo of the dogs. [4]

City Manager Kamuron Gurol takes a photo of the dogs.

P1060022 [5]

Former councilmember Jack Block Jr.

Eric Mathison and friend. [6]

Eric Mathison and friend.

P1050952 [7]

Council chambers was filled with dogs and their humans. [8]

Council chambers was filled with dogs and their humans.

Kellie Bassen presents an oversized check for $15,000 to the council. [9]

Kellie Bassen of B-Town D.O.G. presents an oversized check for $15,000 to the council.

Citizen of the Year
The city recently announced [10] its search for the 2015 ‘Citizen of the Year’ award. The award would be to “officially recognize participation and commitment to the community by public, private and non-profit entities.”

The current qualifying requirements for the award specified in city Resolution 351 “are intended to be subjective and broadly construed. It may be for a single contribution in a single calendar year or for a body of work over any period of time. Individuals may receive this honor once.”

The nomination can come from any source. “Council will accept nominations for Citizen of the Year at any time during the year but no later than the second Friday in February (Feb. 13). In cases where no nomination is received by said date, there will be no additional solicitation. Council is not obligated to select any candidate.”

City Clerk Monica Lusk said it is preferable that the winner lives in the city and only volunteer work is permitted.

Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta said the deadline is soon (Feb. 13), less than two weeks away from the Council meeting date (Feb. 2).

Lusk said the notice has been posted at the city’s website, on social media sites, on The B-Town Blog and other public places. The schedule is that the winner will be named in late March and honored at the April 6 City Council meeting.

The clerk was asked by Councilmember Bob Edgar if any nomination had been make, but as of Monday night, none had been.

Lusk said staff “encourages an individual instead of a group, but the city manager said the current adopted criteria would permit either a group or an individual. Edgar said he would prefer both individuals and groups be considered, but Councilmember Gerald Robison said he thought it better to recognize individuals, “in any group there is usually one individual that is primarily responsible.”

But the members eventually agreed to leave the award open to both individuals and groups, at least for this year.

Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz said she favored taking the criteria from several nearby cities and adding them to the Burien criteria. Tosta said she would be in favor of adding some of the criteria from other cities.

Timing for having the city staff make changes in the criteria and get Council approval was impossible since the submission deadline is just over a week away and there are no other Council meetings by the Feb.13 date.

The Council finally decided to leave the criteria alone this year and then make changes for next year.

Councilmember Debi Wagner wondered if the issue could be put up again on The B-Town Blog so people who may have missed the earlier story could see it.

“I was glad to see it on the blog today, it was right at the top,” Gurol said.

City gets Award
City Manager Kamuron Gurol told the Council it and Otak, Inc., an international engineering and planning firm, were given an award from the American Council for Engineering Companies, Bellevue, for the Northeast Redevelopment Area storm drainage project adjacent to Sea-Tac International Airport. Otak helped Burien and the Port of Seattle create a redevelopment plan “setting a new industry standard” to manage change in the area.

Maiya Andrews, Burien public works director, said working with Otak “the team selected a combination of treatments that replicate natural hydrologic processes, they improve fish passage and enhance base flows and improve water quality in Miller Creek” as well as meet Federal Aviation Agency requirements for development in the runway protection zone.”

Storm water treatment is integrated with recreation to allow multiple uses of the property,” said Andrews. “We were really able to maximize what we could do out there with the amount of money we had,” Andrews told the Council, allowing more work being done that had been planned.”

She congratulated the Otak and city team for winning the award.

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