By NANCY WALBECK
Council also sees revised plan for off-leash dog parkThe city of Anacortes soon should have a fourth Sister City - Vela Luka, Croatia - one that has long-established ties to the community.
"We have 300 Croatians in Anacortes, a majority of them from Vela Luka," Duane Clark, president of the Anacortes Sister Cities Association, told the Anacortes City Council on Monday.
The council is expected to approve Vela Luka as a new Sister City at its Aug. 18 meeting.
Clark said the Croatian community has much in common with Anacortes, such as tourism, a fishing history and an island culture.
Vela Luka is off the Dalmatian Coast in southern Europe and has the same sort of natural beauty seen in the Pacific Northwest.
Several Anacortes residents of Croatian descent attended the City Council study session Aug. 11, including Martin Kolega and Jon Lovric.
Clark said the drive to include Vela Luka actually started in Friday Harbor, a community that helped with humanitarian aid during the recent wars in the former Yugoslavia. That effort expanded to Anacortes, with several wanting to formalize a tourism and trade relationship, he said.
Lovric, who is a member of the Vela Luka Dance troupe based in Anacortes, said the group plans regular visits overseas and including tourists on their trips would be a boon all-round
Lovric also belongs to the Anacortes Sister Cities "working group," which will help organize events and programs.
"Two or three generations (in Anacortes) are very close to that town," Lovric added.
Clark and Don Lapworth, founding member of Anacortes Sister Cities, said they will travel to Vela Luka in the next few weeks to lay plans for mutual visits in the next two years. The Vela Luka town council has approved the Sister Cities arrangement, Clark added.
"We also are organizing a Sister Cities and Depot Gallery exhibit in 2005, which will have art from all the Sister Cities," Clark said.
Anacortes' other three Sister Cities are Sidney, B.C., Lomonosov, Russia, and Kisakata, Japan.
In other business Monday, council members saw a final off-leash dog park plan, which included changes suggested by the public in a recent hearing.
The park, which will be temporary until a permanent site is determined, is at the old city reservoir off H Avenue, near Ace of Heart Creek
Two fenced areas will be set aside for small and large dogs and double- and triple-gate systems will be in place to ensure the animals stay in their enclosures.
The gates also will allow local residents to use the area without disrupting dog activity.
City Parks Director Gary Robinson, who is overseeing the project, said members of Fidalgo Islanders for Dog Off-Leash, or FIDO, are largely funding the new park. Robinson said the group will collect and dispose off dog droppings, while city parks will empty the trash. Little general maintenance, such as lawn mowing, is needed, he added.
Although a wetland is nearby, part of the Ace of Heart watershed, the fencing will keep the dogs restricted, Robinson said.
Sally Turner, who started FIDO, told City Council that more than 2,000 dog parks are in place throughout the country, which allowed the group to research the best way to develop a park.
City Council is expected to approve the dog park at its Monday, Aug. 18 council meeting.