Parks could get a boost from grants
The Ocean Shores Parks & Recreation department is applying for grants to make improvements to four of its public parks. Proposed for Chinook Park on Duck Lake Road is widening of the boat launch.
OCEAN SHORES — Dave VanHoose grips a leash firmly and heads out the door at 5 a.m. His 4-year-old black poodle, Cleo, trots happily beside him.
It’s still dark when they leave their home on Duck Lake Drive each morning. VanHoose says he has to walk Cleo early because it gets too dangerous as the day progresses, what with “all the cars whizzing by all the time.”
VanHoose and his wife, Jann, are promoting an off-leash dog run in Ocean Shores. About four years ago, they collected about 70 signatures and presented a petition to the city. But the idea didn’t go too far.
Now there is once again interest at City Hall.
The Parks & Recreation department is applying for grants from the state Recreation & Conservation office to help make renovations and further develop four parks in Ocean Shores. Some $250,000 could be available, but the city must come up with matching dollars. Yet another grant could provide up to $1 million, with the city responsible for a quarter of the total.
The deadline to apply for the grants is May 1, but the city won’t find out if it has won the funding until some time in October. If the city receives the grants, all renovations to the parks would have to be made within four years.
One of the proposed parks — an undeveloped parcel on Spinnaker Street — would feature an enclosed dog run. It would have a six-foot fence and the area would be covered in grass.
Former mayor Mike Patrick discussed the idea of the dog run with the Parks Board after citizens came to him for support.
The only place in Ocean Shores that allows dogs to be off-leash is the area between the Taurus Beach and Butterclam Beach approaches, but Patrick says it is not an ideal place to bring dogs because they often can’t hear their owners call them over the roar of the ocean.
Patrick used to own some black Labradors and shih tzus and says he understands the safety concerns of pet owners. “We need something so people can have control of their animals,” Patrick said.
The grants could fund renovations to Milo Schneider, Chinook and North Bay parks as well.
The boat launch at Chinook Park would be converted from a single-wide to a double-wide launch. A playground and rest rooms also would be built.
Cinnamon Petzoldt, the city’s Parks & Recreation director, has been preparing the grant proposals for the past few months.
“If there’s funding out there that can help us, let’s get it,” Petzoldt said. “I want to have a nice-looking environment for all people who travel here.”
Improvements to Milo Schneider Park would include replacing frayed rope barricades with a sturdier fence and building a playground. The old playground had to be removed because of safety risks associated with rusty equipment.
Fred Balmer, the manager of the Lions Club building next to the park says he’ll be thrilled if the city lands the grants.
“There’s nothing for the kids to do right now,” Balmer said. “We love having the kids there.”
Other plans for the Milo Schneider Park include cement pathways, a water fountain and picnic tables.
Victor Reykdal, the baseball coach at North Beach High School, is keeping his fingers crossed, too. His team uses the baseball field at North Bay Park for games, and the playing conditions are less than optimal. The baseball diamond is not enclosed, and the sun often makes it difficult for pitchers to see. Since there’s no backstop, it’s hard to keep people off the field during games.
“It’s great that they’re finally looking into making some improvements to the field for those kids,” Reykdal said. “It would be nice to have a fully-operational field.”
The grants would also replace the aging picnic shelter and repave the tennis courts at North Bay Park. The brick chimney is crumbling and there are thick, jagged cracks in the surface of the courts.
“Recreation and being out and active is a really important thing,” Petzoldt said. “It’s nice to be a part of a city that can offer nice facilities for its residents. It’s a feel good kind of thing.”