Photos by Eric Mathiosn
This forlorn dog looks like he wants to be somewhere else as his owner waits to sign up to speak at the Burien City Council meeting. CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR MORE

Dogs go to the Burien council


The Burien City Council went to the dogs on Oct.1. More accurately, the dogs went to the council.

Several dog owners brought their pets to the council meeting to show support for a new off-leash dog park in Burien.

The canine audience contributed occasional barks and heavy breathing as new Highline schools superintendent Susan Enfield introduced herself to the council for the first time.

Kellie Bassen was among those who brought their dogs up to the podium during public comments to urge the council to add the park to the park board’s master plan.

Bassen is spearheading the group called B-Town Dog Owners Group. The group plans to work on such tasks as cleaning up a park, partnering with the parks department, building fences, getting running water, creating a place for poop, creating signage and enlisting landscaping services.

Parks board vice president Ed Dacy urged the lawmakers to move ahead on the dog park.

Burien Councilmember Jack Block Jr., whose own dog sat on the floor next to him, said the group’s goal is to create and maintain the park through an all-volunteer effort.

He pointed to Grandview Park in south SeaTac, the nearest off-leash site to Burien. Block noted Grandview was a former Nike missile site that had become a park known for illegal activity. With support from neighboring cities, volunteers fixed it up into a dog park.

Block said Hazel Valley Park along South 128th Street has been identified as the most viable option. He added it is already fenced on three sides.

“We love our pets here in Burien,” Block noted. “I hope we can move forward in a cost-effective manner.

He suggested that city staff could design the park instead of consultants.

In council business, lawmakers took a look at staff recommendations for human services and arts and culture funding in the 2012-2013 preliminary budget.

Lori Fleming, finance analyst, recommended 23 agencies or programs receive the $206,000 allocated for human services. The total fund is 1 percent of the city’s budget.

Lawmakers expressed surprise that a dental program was not among those funded. Council members suggested $10,000 be set aside from the emergency contingency fund to be awarded to a dental program.

Recreation manager Debbie Zemke reported seven groups were selected to split $20,000 in arts and culture funding as part of the preliminary budget.

The Highline Symphonic Band is slated to receive a grant of $2,500, up from $1,000 this year because it is hosting a regional band festival next year, according to Zemke.

Northwest Associated Arts, which includes ChoralSounds and YouthSounds Northwest, as well as the Northwest Symphony Orchestra are scheduled to receive $4,7500 each.

The council is set to hold a public hearing on the 2012-2013 budget on Oct. 22 and adopt it on Nov. 5.

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