Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Cheney council designates land for dog park


Last updated 2/26/2020 at 2:52pm

CHENEY -- The City Council took a first step at its Feb. 25 meeting towards giving dog owners a safe place to go with their pets by approving a resolution designating 2 acres of vacant city-owned land at 1st Street and Presley Drive as an off-leash dog park.

The move came before an unusually large council chamber crowd, most of whom had come to support the efforts of resident Chris Babcock, who first approached the council with the dog park idea almost three years ago. Babcock was one of six residents to address the council -- all favoring creation of the dog park -- telling them the Dog Park Association non-profit she organized had raised over $1,000 to go towards park needs.

Designating land for a park will enable the association to seek more grant funding opportunities, Public Works Director Todd Ableman and several council members said. Acting as "devil's advocate," councilwoman Jill Weiszmann raised a number of concerns about park management brought on by a list of recommended controls presented by the city's insurer, Washington Cities Insurance Association, adding that if the Dog Park Association fails to act on the controls, it would fall to the city to do so.

"These things concern me," Weiszmann said. "These are the kind of things I see that could create a problem."

Councilwoman Teresa Overhauser said other cities have successful dog parks so there must be ways to address the WCIA's recommended controls. Right now without the dog park, some of the sanitation concerns Weiszmann brought up were already happening in Cheney's other parks.

"Until we have a dog park, every park is a dog park," Overhauser said.

The resolution eventually passed by a unanimous 7-0 vote.

"We are dedicating land to a dog park,"Mayor Chris Grover said after the vote, a statement that drew loud applause.

John McCallum can be reached at

Author Bio

John McCallum, Managing Editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Cheney Free Press for over 20 years. He has received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories. He has been serving as editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald since March 2020.

Phone: 509-235-6184
Contact John McCallum


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