TREASURE ISLAND — City commissioners are expected to decide whether to build a dog park at city-owned Roselli Park at Capri Circle S and Second Street during their March 5 meeting.
Both sides got an early chance to voice their opinions to city officials during the public comment portion of a recent meeting.
It all started in October when a group of dog park supporters, many of whom are Isle of Capri Civic Association residents, told commissioners they would like to start a fundraising effort to add a dog park at Roselli.
When the idea was first presented to commissioners Assistant Parks Director Justin Tramble said, “every other week we’re asked about a dog park. We believe Roselli Park has potential to be an excellent venue for a signature dog park.”
He said fundraising should pay for the cost of the park through sale of remembrance pavers and inscribed park benches like those sold on Sunset Beach.
Among amenities, the park would be designed to feature fenced running areas for both small and large dogs and a pooch and person water fountain.
Bolstered by commission and staff support, dog park advocates began a fundraising effort to pay for fencing and other amenities to build a dog park, while the city studied the proposal.
However, at the most recent meeting residents from a 30-unit condominium complex, whose homes would be within feet of the proposed dog park, voiced their strong objection.
Donna Anderson noted Roselli Park already has many recreational activities.
“I don’t know where you can put a dog park,’’ she said. “We’re totally against it.”
Lynn Burns, secretary of the Capri Isle Civic Association, told commissioners they held monthly meetings to discuss the dog park, but only two residents from adjacent condominiums attended to object.
She said they addressed concerns of those two residents who live closest to the park “and made many concessions as far as aesthetics.”
She said lighting has been eliminated and the group agreed to design the park with plants and shrubs around the perimeter to hide the fencing.
Another resident, Bob Chapman, told commissioners the park does not have enough space for a dog park and will attract people and their dogs from other areas.
He also questioned; “Why would you want to build a dog park next to a flag pole dedicated to veterans?”
Resident Glenn McKeel, who lives adjacent to where the dog park will be placed, told commissioners “many residents feel this is taking place without consideration to those of us that are directly on top of the park. This is not a case of not in my back yard; this is a case of not 80 feet from my front door.”
“Government should work to enhance quality of life and not detract from it,” he said.
He added Roselli is “a beautiful park and we think it’s at capacity. There are enough things there now and to take this little slice of land to put a dog park there is ill advised.”
On the other side of the issue, Dominique Rider, the principal organizer and fundraiser for the dog park, told commissioners she has learned “you can’t please everybody, and there is going to be people for or against the dog park idea.”
She said Roselli Dog Park will be cordoned off from the rest of the park by gates on all four sides and include a fountain.
Many residents already take their dogs for a stroll at Roselli Park, but they must be kept on a leash. The dog park will give them a chance to take a controlled romp on their own.
The park includes Bill Lyons Little League baseball field, a children’s play area, two tennis courts, a basketball court and nature trails.