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November 27, 2006

New Dog Park?

From Sunday's Herald, about a proposed new dog park:

BISCAYNE PARK

Proposed dog park gets a boost

Plans to raise the ground level at a possible dog-park site have proponents of the project feeling optimistic.

BY RODOLFO R. ROMAN
Miami Herald Writer

Backers of a dog park in Biscayne Park say an infill project to raise the soil at the proposed park site has made them optimistic they selected the right location.

''The storm-water project is a tremendous boon for the park. It's going to take care of the flooding issue,'' John Ise, chairman of a village committee in charge of establishing a dog park, told commissioners at a recent meeting.

The stormwater project began last month at the lot at Northeast Sixth Avenue and Griffing Boulevard, and is expected to be completed early next year, Ise said.

The patch of village-owned land was preferred by backers of the dog park seeking a place to let their pets roam unleashed, but there had been concerns about flooding from a canal that runs along the parcel, as well as dangers to pets from wildlife such as alligators.

There were also concerns that the South Florida Water Management District, which has authority over the canal, might nix the idea because of access issues. But village manager Frank Spence says a meeting with district staff has eased those concerns.

''The department will request the Department of Transportation to install a locked pole gate so that only [water management workers] can access the canal,'' Spence informed village commissioners.

With those obstacles removed, dog park committee member Elizabeth Hornbuckle, who is the wife of Mayor John Hornbuckle, is preparing an architectural plan.

The dog park has been in the works since Jan. 2005, when the committee was first formed. The Village Commission approved the park in June of this year, and the dog park committee is responsible for costs such as fencing, landscaping and maintenance. Spence said six royal palms have been donated for the park.

According to Ise, the committee is now working on a budget.

''Once we have the budget, we can get the ball rolling,'' Ise said.

The village has opened a bank account for the dog park so residents can make donations to fund the park. The village and the committee are working to make donations tax-exempt.

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