Updated: July 14, 2023, 3:30 pm.

A city-owned, grass-covered lot in the heart of downtown Richland stands empty, waiting for a new police station, and surrounded by “No Trespassing” signs. Some north Richland residents think it could be a great dog park.

The Richland City Council seems to be leaning toward a new station rather than remodeling or expanding the old station. While the council considers the options, construction could be years away.

The Observer reached out to Richland residents walking their dogs in Leslie Grove Park in north Richland to ask what they thought of a dog park on the former site of Richland City Hall at the corner of George Washington Way and Swift Boulevard. 

Katie Cort said that she thinks about a dog park herself when she drives by the grassy lot.

“It would be great for people who want to walk up from Howard Amon Park to let their dogs run off leash,” she noted.

The city had a “For Sale” sign on the almost three-acre property from 2019, when the old city hall was demolished. The council decided last year that the site might be a good location for a new police station and took the property off the market. Police Chief Brigit Clary told the council that the department had outgrown their current building, which was built in 2001.

Deputy City Manager Joe Schiessl told Richland city councilmembers at a recent workshop meeting that funding will likely not be available unless a bond is approved by voters in 2025.

Meanwhile, the city has irrigated the property, planted grass, and erected no trespassing signs.

“The original intent of the no trespassing signs was based on what we believed was a much faster timeline for redevelopment of the site and establishment of the grass,” City Manager Jon Amundson wrote the Observer in an email.

In a later email, Amundson wrote that the signs are no longer needed and will be modified in the near future.

Amundson said that anyone interested in putting a dog park on the property should suggest it to the council.

Dog owners Penny Berlin and Diana Perkins said they would use a dog park in the downtown location.

But not everyone was enthusiastic about the idea. One dog owner, who gave his name as “Bill,” said, “My dog is too shy to use a dog park.”

At least one resident nixed the idea of continuing to maintain the grassy area as it is, surrounded by no trespassing signs.

“That’s ridiculous,” Paul Crowder told the Observer.