Richland proposing informal dog parks

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - KEPR has learned of unique plans to create more dog parks in Richland, they'll be parks within a park at spots that already exist.

Jim Shurts walks his dog along the Columbia River everyday,
admitting he doesn't always abide by the leash law so Bella gets some room to be a dog.

"I stay away from the areas that have a lot of people because I like to let my dog trot along with me," said dog owner, Jim Shurts.

Richland wants to create more opportunities for Jim to let Bella trot along with him. Parts of the park could be designated as a spot for dogs to be off leash.

"Either certain times during the day, or no one else is in the park, that you can run your dog off leash and still be legal, so you're expanding our dog park concept," said Richland Parks and Recreation, Phil Pinard.

"It's very important to me, it's not as fun for the dog or for me to be on a short leash all the time," said Shurts.

That's not the only improvement you may see, Richland will be adding five new multi-use sports fields at Hanford Legacy Park,costing over a million dollars, half being paid through the hotel-motel tax.

"If you put enough fields together then you can attract tournaments from out of area people to support the economy of the Tri-Cities," said Pinard.

Kennewick has plans to get more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, the city will spending almost $400,000to add lighting, bike racks, and improve the pavement east of the Blue Bridge. Pasco will add new pathways throughout Memorial Park as well. For Richland, adding the signs to designate an off-leash area would be minimal.

The so-called dog fetching zones will first go before the city commissioners. The public will have a chance to weigh in before any changes are made.