Dog park being discussed for area at Kiwanis Park

Feb. 24, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Lee County Parks and Recreation staff and animal lovers believe a local dog park can become a reality by the end of year — pending donations from area residents and businesses.

“We are hoping to open it by the fall of 2013 as long as the funding is there,” said Parks and Recreation employee Lora Kelley. “The area will require very little preparation and it is very doable.”

A group of volunteers met this week to discuss fundraising ideas for the dog park, estimated to cost $20,000, and the Parks and Recreation Board is scheduled to meet to discuss the park, among other items, at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Lee County Government Center.

The fenced-in, leash-free park would be subdivided for larger and active dogs and smaller and nonactive dogs and located in the lower meadow of Kiwanis Park, Kelley said.

Parks and Recreation staffer Bill Shuey said the dog park interest meeting this week was very positive with enthusiastic supporters.

“The community has responded very well,” he said. “We asked (the public) if they were interested in one and we’ve had 421 responses, with most of them being positive and who think it is a good idea.”

Of the 421 responses generated from the online survey, 12 were negative and 10 were unsure about a dog park, Kelley said. Everyone else has expressed overwhelming support.

The group of volunteers are offering various degrees of support to be featured on a donor board that will remain at the park. Donors can also purchase a chain-link fence, bench or waste disposal station plaque for a donation.

Donations can be mailed to: Lee County Parks & Recreation, Attn: Lora Kelley, P.O. Box 1968, Sanford. Checks should be made payable to Friends of the Park.

Parks and Recreation doesn’t currently anticipate asking the Lee County Board of Commissioners for funds and instead wants to focus on fundraising. 

Other items to be discussed during Parks and Recreation Board meeting Monday:

* Update on Horton Park: An engineer has been hired to develop two options at Horton Park, said Parks and Recreation Director John Payne. One includes restoring the pool at Horton Park, located at 1515 Washington St., and another turns the pool into a splash and spray area, Payne said.

“We are still trying to get the public input on what other elements folks think need to be added,” he said. 

* Fee changes: The demand for baseball and softball fields at the Tramway Road Park has increased, Payne said, and tournaments at the park have doubled in recent years. The Parks and Recreation Board will consider increasing the fee to rent the small fields by $25 and $50 for the large field.