Wednesday, September 19, 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 it’s 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 Tampa’s 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: It’s in the shade of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, there’s 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 doesn’t hurt delicate paws.

As much as transportation woes seem to always dog our region, the Expressway Authority’s 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. It’s a dirty job but cleaning up after your pet is important and the right thing to do.

And kudos to the Expressway Authority’s 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 Sophie’s four-legged friends, stop on by the park and see why it’s where all the hip doggies, and their owners, hang out. It’s a fun place for both dogs and owners, and a great way to honor one of Tampa’s 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: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18
Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Editorial: Scott sends positive signal on Supreme Court appointments

Gov. Rick Scott has headed down a dangerous path by announcing he has started the process to fill three upcoming vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court as he heads out the door. But to his credit, the governor indicated his "expectation’’ is that he ...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

Editorial: Stalled U.S.-Cuba relations hurting Florida business

After an encouraging start, the breakdown in America’s reset with Cuba is a loss for both sides and for the state of democracy across the region. Havana and Washington are both to blame, but the Trump administration’s hard line with Cuba is out of sy...
Published: 09/12/18
Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

Lessons from Moonves’ ouster

If the swift departure of CBS Chairman Les Moonves has a bright side, it’s that a major television network took accusations of sexual harassment against its chief executive seriously enough to hold him accountable and obtain his resignation even at t...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Editorial: Banks should not shut down campaign accounts for marijuana ties

Editorial: Banks should not shut down campaign accounts for marijuana ties

Two banks have taken the retaliatory step of closing down the campaign account of a statewide candidate because she received contributions from the medical marijuana industry. Nikki Fried, the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, has been...
Published: 09/10/18
Updated: 09/14/18