Seminole Heights support dog park; debate location
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Residents agree on the need for a dog park in the neighborhood. But there is division on where to build it. On Wednesday about 25 people met with city parks and recreation officials to discuss a possible dog park at Henry & Ola Park, at 300 W. Henry Ave. “We know there is a need for a dog park in Seminole Heights,” said Heather Erickson, the city’s North Area manager at parks and recreation. But, she emphasized, “We’re getting information today. We’re not making a decision.” Final approval for the dog park would be made the Tampa City Council. The city now has nine dog parks. The first was built nearly 12 years ago at Al Lopez Park on Himes Avenue.Some residents who meet at the park on Saturdays for a group dog walk have spearheaded a campaign in support of a dog park. About $7,000 in pledges has been collected to pay the estimated $38,000 cost of building the park for dogs, said supporter Mauricio Rosas. “I think it’s doable,” he said. “I think we can all come together.” At Wednesday’s meeting some people questioned if Henry & Ola is the best place for a dog park. If it is built, they said, the facility should be near ball fields rather than an open green space at Henry & Ola. “I’m not for the dog park and I own dogs,” Tama Hillman said. She worried about losing open park land opposite ball fields where baseball and soccer games are played. “It’s the only part of the park left that is beautiful and natural,” she said. “It’s a shame we want to ruin that part of the park.” Dog park supporter Susan Elbare said a location closer to the ball fields might be better. “You can always make things better,” she said. “I still think (Henry & Ola) is a good location.” Other suggested locations included Rivercrest Park, at 4802 River Blvd.; and McDugald Park, at 1211 E. Sligh Ave.