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University Lake Park sees improvements including increased parking and lighting

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 5:41 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - What was once a tiny parking lot off Elmore Road that serviced University Lake Dog Park reopened Friday to reveal multiple improvements. The lot has been expanded from 20 spaces to more than 50, and — for the first time ever — lighting has been installed.

Municipal Park Planner Taylor Keegan said the new lights should help with the problem of frequent break-ins that the old lot experienced. Park user Rachel Hull agreed.

“I’m excited that they are lighting that parking lot because it does make everybody feel a lot safer,” Hull said. “Especially with the Alaskan winters, it gets dark so early. Sometimes you want to take your dog out after work and so if there’s no lights it can feel pretty dangerous.”

The new lot is the centerpiece but there are other changes. Crews have put in a new trail that leads from the parking lot to the center of the park. Keegan said the new trail will better define the area where off-leash dogs are allowed and where they aren’t.

“There was a lot of user conflict between the off-leash dogs and the other park users. So this separates that and makes it a little bit more direct and clear for folks,” Hull said.

Another change, crews removed a concrete island that had a “pet memorial” planted on it. Keegan said the memorial site has been relocated several yards away. She encouraged people interested in planting the new memorial to attend a work party on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m. at the park.

The $600,000 improvements were part of the University Lake Master Plan which was passed in 2017 and funded by two bonds passed by voters in 2018 and 2020.

Keegan said improvements to existing trails will continue next summer.

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