New Parks and Recreation Director David Howard presented an idea for replacing an unused City structure with a dog park, and the Brooksville City Council agreed to consider it. No official vote was held during the meeting.
The current building at 306 Darby Lane has been sitting vacant for years, inhabited only by black mold. The city owns the building but has not been used for years due to unstable flooring and various structural issues.
Howard asked the council if demolishing the building and constructing a dog park in its place would be a better use for the 0.92-acre property.
During a short presentation, Howard showed the results of a small local poll conducted between 2018 and 2019, revealing that participants selected a dog park as the top amenity. Also on the list was a splash park, playground, outdoor pool, community garden, and multi-purpose fields. Since the poll was conducted, the playground has been upgraded, and construction of a splash park is expected to begin in 2023.
Howard also reported that 91% of Americans believe dog parks benefit their communities by providing safe exercise space for pets and enhancing their social skills.
The estimated cost of building the park was not available at the meeting. Still, Howard listed various grant opportunities available through several entities, including PetSafe Bark For Your Pet, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Doris Day Animal Foundation, the My Darling Theo Dog Park Fund, and Purina.
Council Member Robert Battista noted that the Rotary Centennial Dog Park in Spring Hill was organized by the Rotary Club and funded locally through donations from local businesses. Battista mentioned that building a dog park in Brooksville has been considered in the past, “But we backed off of this recently because we allowed dogs to walk on the trails in the Quarry.”
The Quarry is currently a walking trail and disc golf course located at 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd.