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|Barked: Sun Apr 9, '06 8:07pm PST |
|For the past three years, Marta Saint-James has attempted to establish a dog park in Pinal County.
First, she went unsuccessfully in the city of Apache Junction and now she is turning to Gold Canyon. While people are sympathetic to its need, she said there appears to be little help in official circles although there is plenty of public support.
That is because she went before the Apache Junction City Council, but her proposal for a dog park was not well-received. Previously, the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission supported her idea.
“The idea just died in council,” Ms. Saint-James said. “While, maybe died is not a good word, but there was no action taken. The members debated the cost and location, and in the end, they took no action.”
That did not stop Ms. Saint-James. She now presses forward in Gold Canyon; because the area is not incorporated, she does not have to deal with any governmental or advisory board.
On 7.5 acres of land donated by local developer Harold Christ, she envisions a barrier-free open space, where those in wheelchairs and special needs can bring their dogs.
The site is under a power line on Kings Ranch Road near the Gigglin’ Gecko, a bar and restaurant.
This time, Ms. Saint-James has the support of elected officials and staff.
Pinal County Supervisor Sandie Smith endorses the dog park concept, but cautions the process can be lengthy.
“There are many steps involved here, but there is a need for a facility like this,” Supervisor Smith said. “A land survey must be taken, site selection be determined, cost and budget consideration, and size of the area. Plus, the organizers have to get input from the community and stay focused.”
David Kuhl, director of Planning and Development for Pinal County will provide information and advice at the state level. The county is also in the process of hiring a senior parks planner, who will be able to assist in this project. At Independent’s press time, phone calls to Mr. Kuhl were not returned.
In reference to her plan, Ms. Saint-James notes all one had to do is look to
In recent months, Gilbert opened a dog park, Chandler has three in operation, and Ms. Saint-James is most familiar with the facility in Mesa.
Because there is no dog park in Apache Junction, Ms. Saint-James took her two golden retrievers, Cody and Cramer, to the Mesa dog park, a distance of 26.5 miles. Eventually, both were put to sleep and now without a dog, Ms. Saint-James maintains her fight to establish a dog park.
“I look at something like this promoting responsible dog ownership,” she said.
“There are many ways people can use a dog park, and I envision our park as a potential training base, we can hold festivals, and a place to showcase police dogs.”
Though she would like the facility operational within one year, Ms. Saint-James does not commit to a timetable.
“We have a good start,” she said, referring to the site donated by Mr. Christ.
“The area we selected has 11 trees and one fire hydrant. For any dog, that’s a great place to run, jump, exercise and have fun.”