Group fetches grant to enlighten canines

A $40,000 grant will soon alter the most trafficked off-leash dog park on Whidbey Island, to benefit humans.

FETCH! (Free Exercise Time for Canines and their Humans!), received the grant from the Fosters Group to install solar power and drill a water well at Langley’s Marguerite Brons Memorial Park on Bayview Road.

The new lighting will improve safety and security for some of the park’s older patrons, FETCH! president Joy Thompson said.

“Ultimately the users of the park, many of them senior citizens, will be able to safely exercise their canine companions during the long, dark winter,” Thompson said in a release.

Puget Sound Energy, Whidbey Well Drillers and Whidbey Sun and Wind, a Coupeville-based company, were contracted for the work.

“It’s not a huge project, but it’s a positive project,” project manager Dave Rose said. “It’s getting dark out at 4:30 now, and people, especially those that walk their dogs after work, can’t see.”

Rose had initially planned to use the solar energy to power the lights and water well, but decided it would be more “green” to sell the power back into the grid, and buy it from Puget Sound Energy. The power company will send rebate checks to the county.

In conjunction with the project, FETCH! also received word about the installation of a permanent bathroom at Marguerite and a separate play area for small dogs in 2009.

Construction will begin in January.

“People from all over the island like to use this park,” Thompson said. “For North Whidbey residents, it’s just one more reason to trek down there.”

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