Kilauea going to the dogs

KILAUEA — As the general manager of the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association, Rory Enright has received a number of comments and suggestions over the years.  

But one of the more common ones he has received during his nearly three-year tenure is a long-standing call among North Shore residents for a dog park.

“If you go to Hanalei and you want to get to the beach with your dog, you have to pass the pavillions there, where the park is, and several people have told me that they have received tickets for having their dogs come through there,” said Enright about the county’s effort in recent years to enforce animal control laws in public parks. “That’s a big motivation to have a legal place where people can take their dogs. Dogs need socialization and their owners do to.”

That desire, Enright said, will soon become a reality.

The Kauai North Shore Community Foundation, a fledging community-based nonprofit in Princeville, is moving forward with plans to build a public dog park on 1-acre of vacant land in Kilauea’s Kalihiwai Ridge neighborhood.

 The land, which sits on the 500-acre Wai Koa Plantation, was donated three months ago by Princeville residents Bill Porter, an E*Trade Financial Corporation co-founder, and his wife, Joan Porter.

“We’re very lucky,” Enright said on Saturday as he stood on the property along Kalihiholo Road and gazed at the Namahana mountain range in the distance. “This is probably one of the most gorgeous sites that I could have ever imagined to put a dog park.”

Joan Porter, who owns three Bernese Mountain Dogs, said the decision to donate the land to the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation was an easy one.

“We’re really excited to see this happen,” Joan Porter said.

Current plans for the $110,000 Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant Kauai North Shore Community Dog Park, calls for the construction of double-gated entrances into two separate play spaces for large and small dogs.

The park, according to current plans, will also include two $15,000 shade structures, two $2,500 water stations, eight $1,500 benches and 14 trees at $500 each once it is fully built out.

To date, the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation has received $56,000 in monetary donations, including an anonymous $50,000 gift to kick start the effort, and in-kind contributions from Pawrific Pet Care for “doggie stations and ongoing supplies” and Kauai Nursery and Landscaping, Inc. for drawing up the conceptual plan for the park.

“We’ve got a way to go, but we’re at a place where we have enough money to start up the construction and get to the position where we can open it up for use even though there will be further development on it after that,” Enright said.

The foundation, he said, has secured the necessary county permits for the park and is tentatively scheduled to break ground on the first phase of the dog park within the next two to three weeks.

This phase of the project, which will include the installation of a gravel parking lot and park gates, is expected to be completed within six to eight weeks, Enright said.

He said the names of the companies that will be conducting work on the park are not yet available for public disclosure.

The dog park, when completed, will be the only one on the North Shore and the second one on the island. The only other designated dog park on Kauai, Freddie’s Dog Park, is at the Kauai Humane Society’s headquarters in Puhi.

Amended animal control ordinances that, in part, called for the creation of a county-backed dog park in Wailua Homesteads were passed by the Kauai County Council in May 2010 but efforts to get the project off the ground have been unsuccessful.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion of how busy it is going to be and my sense is that it’s going to be very heavily used,” Enright said. “North Shore has a large dog population. I’ll be really surprised if it’s not active, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more active than the Humane Society park.”

Princeville resident Nancy Lindman, who has lived on the North Shore for nearly 40 years, said the dog park is long overdue.

On most days, Lindman said she takes her 5-year-old Golden Retriever on short walks in her neighborhood on a leash but explained it’s difficult for him to socialize with other dogs.

“There really isn’t anywhere that you can take them off a leash that is safe right now,” Lindman said. “If they can never get off a leash, it is a very limiting life. I think they are better companions and better dogs for the neighborhood if they can interact with other dogs and act appropriately.”

Info: bit.ly/12jELXE or send an e-mail to North Shore Dog Park Committee member April McGinnis at: april@princevillecommunity.com.

• Darin Moriki, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0428 or dmoriki@thegardenisland.com.

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