New Pavilion a Community Benefit for Those with Two Feet…or Four

By Anthony SanFilippo

Go to any warm weather locale and dog parks are all the rage. Owners and their furry friends convene to meet friends, allow their pets to socialize and to take in the wonderful weather.

Well, dog parks aren’t only something those in warmer climates can enjoy.

“People love their dogs up here!” said Kelly Martin, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenai Peninsula Association of REALTORS® (KPAR) in Southcentral Alaska.

And when it comes to pets, well, quality of life for homeowners extends all the way down to the four-legged members of the family.

Last October, KPAR secured a grant from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and partnered with the city of Soldonta Parks and Recreation Department and the local Rotary Club to help build a large pavilion in the year-old community dog park that was built in 2017 on an unsafe vacant lot.

A city-owned property, the 3 Friends Dog Park was funded by the estates of three friends in the Soldonta community and is maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department in a public-private partnership.

And while in the first year of its existence, many hard-working volunteers helped build a walking trail, a water station, a pet memorial wall, off-leash zones for big and small dogs, a bulletin board and supplied doggie toys. The one thing that was missing was a covered area where dog owners could go if the elements were not ideal, or as a rest area or meeting spot for activities and events.

That’s where the NAR grant came in, and KPAR provided $2,500 for construction supplies and then several of the 68 members of the Association volunteered time to actually construct the pavilion.

The outer structure was built over the course of three days, and a few weeks later benches were added underneath the structure.

It’s little things like this that help foster a feeling of togetherness in a community and improves the quality of life for all homeowners and their families – and the work in Soldonta is not done.

Thanks to the funding provided, an additional plan to construct a canine agility course in 2019 can move forward to enhance the park even further.

“The response has been amazing,” Martin said. “There’ve been lots of great posts on Facebook, and an article in the local paper, and we’ve even heard a local DJ talking the project up on the radio. Best of all, for me, is that I drive by the dog park just about every day and see first-hand how well appreciated it is.”


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