As mentioned previously in this space, Seattle Parks and Recreation will host a public meeting this Thursday, October 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. to present and discuss possible changes to the off-leash area (OLA) at Dr. Jose Rizal Park. The meeting will be at Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave. S.
The construction of the nearby Mountains to Sound Trail has provided an opportunity to reconfigure areas of the park including the OLA. In the proposed changes, the OLA would be reduced in size and fenced, to provide a buffer between the dog area and bicycle traffic. However, all of the property within the OLA would be usable, which is not the case with the current site.
The proposal is not without controversy. “Save our off-leash area!” reads a headline on Frieda Adams’ “Friends of Jose Rizal Off-Leash Area” website, which contains commentary about the proposed changes, and a petition form to keep the OLA at its current size.
Adams is not in favor of Parks’ proposed changes to the site footprint, and suggests that the city is shrinking the site because of low attendance and perceived vulnerability to crime in the area: “Whether low attendance is due to fear, whether it’s due to neglect on the part of the Parks Department and COLA, whether it’s true that nobody is using the site—these are all considerations the City must take into account before scrapping the off-leash area’s original concept.”
Those interested in the future of the park and of the OLA should attend Thursday’s meeting, where Parks’ plan will be presented in full.