Progress slows on dog park renovation

Holmes Beach dog park entrance
Members of the parks and beautification committee voted to change out fencing and gates to allow for a new, vinyl-coated fence and push button entrances to the dog park. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – It’s been months in the making, but users still aren’t much closer to seeing improvements at the city’s dog park.

Members of the Parks and Beautification Committee held a special meeting to discuss priority projects for the dog park renovation with the public. While decisions were confirmed on fencing, entrances and plantings, other ideas – including a slight enlargement of the park – were dismissed in favor of allowing city commissioners to make the final determination.

Committee members agreed to keep the fence separating the small and large dog parks where pets and pet parents can see through it. They also confirmed votes to change out the exterior fencing to vinyl-coated chain link, add two entries with pavers to each park with push button locking mechanisms and place pavers underneath benches to discourage digging.

They changed a vote from the previous month, favoring filtered water bottle fillers and raised bowl stands for dogs over an earlier decision to insert a water fountain in each side of the park.

Committee member Dennis Groh presented an updated landscaping plan with short cocoplum trees around the perimeter of the park and the addition of trees in the large dog park to allow more shade. Dog park user Don Anthony suggested planting the trees near the fence line to allow dogs to run freely.

Holmes Beach dog park
City Engineer Lynn Burnett addresses drainage concerns from committee members and dog park users. – Kristin Swain | Sun

With the addition of the trees, committee members voted out an earlier decision to add sun shades to the park. Instead, they agreed to reconsider the sun shades if it’s found more shade is needed. No firm decision was made concerning ground cover for the park.

Dog park users spoke out against planting the cocoplum trees along the fencing facing Flotilla Drive, citing a safety concern of not being able to see in or out of the park clearly. Committee members overruled the dog park users present during the meeting with Groh stating the plantings are needed to help block sound and soften the look for residential neighbors.

City Engineer Lynn Burnett was on hand to discuss drainage for the park. Before she can create a plan to help lessen water retention, she said a firm master design plan is needed to allow for any additional storm water runoff that may be created.

Holmes Beach dog park water source
Rather than just having a water hose, committee members agreed to install filtered water bottle fillers in both sides of the dog park. – Kristin Swain | Sun

One item dog park users and committee members agreed on is the reduction of sign pollution in the park. With new, large signs warning of the rules of the park recently installed, users asked if some signs could be removed, particularly from the interior of wooden shelters where the signs block airflow. Committee members agreed to find out what signs were legally required for dog park operation and see if some others could be removed.

Committee members agreed to move forward with the creation of a master plan for the park with the hope of presenting to city commissioners for approval in May.