LARGO — Plans to build a bird hospital and rehabilitation center at George C. McGough Nature Park have fallen through, according to the leader of a group that wanted to run the facility.
The parting of ways between the city and Gulf Coast Bird Rescue was friendly, said Robin Vergara, executive director and cofounder of the rescue. The problem, he said, was that McGough did not have enough space to accommodate the organization's future plans, which would include a hospital and rehabilitation flight pens, as well as educational facilities.
Although it's still looking for donations, Vergara said a donor has agreed to help the organization buy a parcel of land where the rehabilitation facilities could be permanently located.
The rescue is grateful to the city for trying to help out, Vergara said, and the two will "continue to partner together as ambassadors for native wildlife."
Largo officials could not be reached for comment.
Gulf Coast was founded in 2013 by Vergara and others as an alternative to the financially strapped Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. Vergara and others with Gulf Coast are former employees of Suncoast. Since its founding, Gulf Coast has provided volunteer rescue and transportation to caretakers for injured native wild birds in Pinellas County.
"We stepped in to fill a void not being met and we look forward to embedding ourselves in the community and becoming a nonprofit organization of which the community can be proud," Vergara said.
The organization, he said, is dedicated to preserving native wildlife through humane and professional wild bird rehabilitation. It also sees public education as one of its primary functions.
For information, go to gulfcoast birdrescue.org.