Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Opinion

Guest column: Deputy’s legacy of heroism inspired a place for dogs to play

My dog Sophie likes to remind me that the dog days of summer are just around the corner. That means itís time for her to shed her winter coat, head outdoors and enjoy the Tampa sunshine.

Where can Sophie and her furry friends go to enjoy, but not bake, in the Florida heat? They head over to the Deputy Kotfila Memorial Dog Park, located in Tampaís Channelside neighborhood.

This is an extra special park to me, because it honors a man who loved his own furry friend. Just like I love Sophie, Deputy John Kotfila Jr. loved his German Shepherd pal Dexter. Deputy Kotfila gave his life to save two lives as a wrong way driver approached on the Selmon Expressway.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE Dog park planned to honor deputy who died acting as human shield

Someone at the Expressway Authority must have a dog because they got it right: Itís in the shade of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, thereís plenty of room for puppies to show off their moves, exercise areas to really impress the other barkers, and even top-of-the-line canine turf that doesnít hurt delicate paws.

As much as transportation woes seem to always dog our region, the Expressway Authorityís ability to repurpose underutilized land beneath the thoroughfare into a valuable and thriving community asset is just one example of how the authority continually reinvests tolling revenues back into the region.

When it comes to providing safe, reliable and innovative multi-modal transportation solutions for our community, the authority is truly "Best in Show."

Channelside is booming and, with all of the exciting plans for Water Street Tampa yet to come, this part of town is only getting started. The Deputy Kotfila Memorial Dog Park is a great neighborhood amenity and, because of its connection to the Selmon Greenway, dog owners like me can walk to the park on pedestrian-friendly pathways.

And because there is ample parking, residents from across Tampa can also enjoy the park and stay to frequent one of the several dog-friendly shops and restaurants in the neighborhood.

As much as I could go on about the Expressway Authority and its good work, Sophie needs to go. Literally. Sophie really needs to go. Fortunately, the Deputy Kotfila Memorial Dog Park has pet waste stations positioned around both sides of the park to make it easy to clean up afterwards. Itís a dirty job but cleaning up after your pet is important and the right thing to do.

And kudos to the Expressway Authorityís partner, the city of Tampa, and the great job it does of providing ongoing maintenance and management of the park. Someone deserves a treat!

So, to all Sophieís four-legged friends, stop on by the park and see why itís where all the hip doggies, and their owners, hang out. Itís a fun place for both dogs and owners, and a great way to honor one of Tampaís finest heroes. I know Dexter must be proud.

Badia Verona lives in the Channelside area of downtown Tampa and enjoys walking her dog Sophia through the Deputy Kotfila Memorial Dog Park, opened last June at 705 Raymond St.

Comments
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russiaís meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

ĎEverybody needed to know what happenedí

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmettís Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18
Editorial: Personal bias taints Floridaís clemency system

Editorial: Personal bias taints Floridaís clemency system

A recent exchange between the governor and Cabinet and a felon seeking to have his civil rights restored underscores the arbitrary unfairness of Floridaís clemency system. A long waiting period, a ridiculous backlog of cases and elected officials who...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Trump should work with Congress on immigration

Donald Trumpís resounding victory in the 2016 presidential election came at least in part because the New York businessman grasped the disconnect between how millions of Americans and the political establishments of both parties felt about immigratio...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18
Editorial: Trumpís trade war hurts American consumers

Editorial: Trumpís trade war hurts American consumers

Voters who looked to Donald Trump to make America great might want to look at their wallets. The president escalated his global trade war this week, threatening new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports ó everything from seafood, beef and ...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

Editorial: Rays stadium cost should be fairly shared

The imaginative Ybor City ballpark proposed by the Tampa Bay Rays fits nicely into the 21st century vision of a sophisticated city and would secure major league baseballís future for the entire region. It also carries an eye-catching cost that will h...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18
Editorial: Supreme Court pick qualified, but confirmation process should be vigorous

Editorial: Supreme Court pick qualified, but confirmation process should be vigorous

For the second time in less than 18 months, President Donald Trump has nominated a well-qualified, conservative federal appeals court judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. That does not mean Judge Brett Kavanaugh should get an easy pass through Senate con...
Published: 07/10/18
Updated: 07/11/18
Editorial: Nobody uses fireworks to scare off birds

Editorial: Nobody uses fireworks to scare off birds

Americans are accustomed to celebrating the nationís birthday by blowing up Chinese fireworks for days ó a rite of recklessness that kills seven people a year and sends another 13,000 to hospital emergency rooms. The tragic toll struck close to home ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/13/18
Editorial: Let local governments regulate short-term rentals

Editorial: Let local governments regulate short-term rentals

The Florida Legislatureís meddling in local issues has created another mess for neighborhoods across the state. No family should have to put up with a short-term rental next door that overwhelms their street with constant visitors, traffic and noise ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/10/18