BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County's mutts and pedigree purebred pooches soon will have a new place to romp, thanks to the County Commission.
Commissioners on Wednesday approved spending $25,000 in county park impact fees to finish the long-awaited dog park at Rotary Centennial Park in Spring Hill.
For four years, the Spring Hill Central Rotary Club has been raising money to develop the park on a nearly 8-acre parcel bounded by Sandlor Street, Portillo Road and Landover Boulevard in Spring Hill.
Tough economic times have stymied the fundraising, so Parks and Recreation director Pat Fagan asked commissioners to use the impact fee dollars to complete the restrooms, parking area and sidewalks.
"I know the dog lovers want this park,'' said Josh Kelly, the club's president. He thanked Commissioner Diane Rowden for her efforts to secure $20,000 in donations for the park.
The Rotary Club promised the commission that the $25,000 would be paid back to the county, likely very soon. The first $1,000 came during the presentation.
Commissioner Jeff Stabins said that he had two "constituents," Rusty Doobers and Casey Kamir, who were very supportive of the dog park and wanted to contribute. The two are actually Stabins' black Lab mixed pets.
With the infusion of county money, officials predict that the dog park should be open by early next year.
The dog park is Phase 1 of the park development, and the county has already provided $50,000 in impact fees to assist with permitting and development on the site. The second phase of the park will include a playground, picnic shelters and a basketball court.
In other business:
• The commission approved an additional payment of $5,160 to Cliff's Construction Services for the preliminary soil cleanup at the contaminated site of the county's old Department of Public Works compound.
The project was designed to take the first couple of feet of contaminated soil from the site and replace it with clean fill. More soil was removed than originally proposed and more fill had to be added, driving up the cost. The preliminary project, which is now complete, cost a total of $33,812 with the addition approved by commissioners Wednesday.
• Commissioners approved spending $108,037 to retrofit the Department of Public Works building in Brooksville to better withstand hurricane winds.
The money, which comes from grants through emergency management and transportation trust funds, will buy window screens and door netting to fortify the building to handle winds of 120 mph and keep flying debris from puncturing the windows.
The structure, which was built in 2003, would be a critical county facility to keep operating if the community were ever hit by a severe storm, officials said.
• The commission approved a bid of $2.46-million for the widening project for Cortez Boulevard west of U.S. 19. The project would widen 3.42 miles of roadway to have 12-foot-wide lanes and 4-foot-wide shoulders. Drainage, striping, signs and water line installation are also part of the project. The low bidder was Goodwin Brothers Construction Inc. of Brooksville.