Lena Wissner testifies before the Kenai City Council in support of additional funding for a dog park in Kenai on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Lena Wissner testifies before the Kenai City Council in support of additional funding for a dog park in Kenai on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai dog park construction delayed

Efforts to create a dog park, which will be located at Daubenspeck Family Park in Kenai, have been underway for years.

The projected completion of a dog park in the City of Kenai has been pushed back from spring to summer 2022 due to construction delays.

Efforts to create a dog park, which will be located at Daubenspeck Family Park in Kenai, have been underway for years and have mostly been driven by volunteer labor and financial donations. To date, the project has benefited from almost $60,000 in in-kind contributions including the clearing of land, participation in Kenai’s Fourth of July parade and removal of tree stumps.

Former Kenai Mayor Pat Porter has been actively involved in raising funds for the park and has sent multiple letters requesting funding from the City of Kenai.

Earlier this year, Porter requested $25,000 for the installation of a fence at the park, which she said the Kenai Dog Park Friends intended to repay, to be funded with a city fund designated for recreation. Those funds were approved through an amendment to the city’s budget.

Porter now lives in Texas, but is still leading fundraising efforts for the dog park. She said in a Sept. 26 letter to the council that she would like the city to “remov(e)” the expectation that the grants be reimbursed, to appropriate additional money for the park from the Daubenspeck fund and to consider writing a Tier 1 grant to the Rasmusson Foundation.

Karen Seitz and Lena Wissmar, who said they were members of the Kenai Dog Park Friends committee, testified in support of the requests described in Porter’s letter at the city council’s Wednesday night meeting.

“I am here this evening to encourage the council to save the three points suggested in the letter in a future work session or council meeting,” Wissmar said Wednesday.

Regarding Porter’s concerns about repaying the city’s grant, however, Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander clarified Thursday that those funds did not come with a requirement that Kenai Dog Park Friends pay the city back.

Porter estimates an additional $30,000 to $40,000 will be needed for the dog park before it can open next summer, but said that she’s optimistic about the future of the dog park and has been “very pleased” with the level of community support the project has received.

“I think the council will take positive action,” Porter said.

The Kenai City Council agreed Wednesday to set aside time at their Oct. 20 meeting to address the status of the dog park.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.`

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