Waikoloa Dog Park Group meeting open to all North Hawaii residents: Next step to bring first dog park to the region

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WAIKOLOA VILLAGE — Dog lovers in North Hawaii who want to support a new Waikoloa Village dog park can attend a public meeting from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the Homeowner’s Association Community Room, next to Waikoloa Grill &Bar.

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WAIKOLOA VILLAGE — Dog lovers in North Hawaii who want to support a new Waikoloa Village dog park can attend a public meeting from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the Homeowner’s Association Community Room, next to Waikoloa Grill &Bar.

For canines of all sizes and their masters from throughout the region, the dog park would be the first in North Hawaii and the first within a county park on Hawaii Island.

Informal discussions began among a dozen or so Waikoloa Village, Waimea and Honokaa residents more than a year ago. Forming a “Friends of the Waikoloa Dog Park” group is one of the requirements from Hawaii County’s Department of Parks and Recreation (P&R).

The purpose of the meeting will be to solidify the volunteer group, whose responsibilities will be to fund raise, build and maintain the dog park. P&R personnel will attend to answer questions.

“In order to open a County dog park, we are required to form a group in which each member reads and signs the County’s ‘Friends of the Park’ Program agreement,” Rhonda Pollard said, a local park supporter who heads Lava Dogs Hawaii. “We will also need to specify what our group would like to do and our expectations from the County, and submit a County waiver of liability form.”

“Essentially, this means the park would be a ‘community effort,’ assisting P&R financially and manually with ongoing maintenance, improvements, vandalism and litter, including picking up dog poop even if it doesn’t belong to our dogs — basically providing volunteer manpower to help ‘stretch’ tax dollars,” she added.

The Waikoloa dog park size has been approved for 15,000 square feet — or nearly one-third of an acre that’s adjacent to the enclosed baseball field. As part of the approved resolution in August 2016, the park will have two separate areas, one for large dogs and the other for small dogs.

“We will need to raise $9,500 for fencing alone. Although $6,500 was already appropriated for the park by former Councilwoman Margaret Wille, we’ve been told the total cost will be approximately $16,000,” Pollard said. “We will also need funds for anything else the park requires to open, such as soil, grass seed, irrigation, benches, shade structures, trees, signage, other landscaping and a liability insurance policy under the “Friends of the Waikoloa Dog Park’ name.”

Committed volunteers can assist financially or with manual labor, such as scheduled mowing of the area if P&R doesn’t cover this, weeding and fixing irrigation, or fencing as needed.

“This is a long-term commitment,” Pollard said. “Anyone interested can contact me and come to the meeting Friday.”

Once formed, the group’s next step will be to create a plan including the park’s funding, maintenance and enforcement of the dog park rules for P&R’s approval, as well as liability insurance requirements in consultation with the County’s Risk Manager for P&R to evaluate, Pollard said. All group members will also be required to sign a county waiver of liability form.

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“The development of a successful dog park requires a great deal of planning and effort. But your involvement and dedication will hopefully lead to the ultimate reward — the joy of creating and maintaining a special place where dogs and their families can run, romp and socialize,” the American Kennel Club said in their “Establishing a Dog Park in Your Community” collateral.

For more information on how to join the Waikoloa Village dog park group or the meeting, contact Rhonda Pollard of Lava Dogs Hawaii at rhonda@lavadogshawaii.com.

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