Palmetto plans to use land for new dog park

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PALMETTO, FL. - K-9's across Palmetto are in need of a good park. City leaders agree with that, but there could be some environmental issues with a proposed site for one.

"We are trying to do something really good for the community and we would hope that they would appreciate the efforts as they're going forward," says Palmetto Mayor Shirley.

Mayor Bryant and city officials have looked at numerous sites to find the perfect location of a dog park in the city, and now they have finally found it.

The proposed dog park off 5th Street West, just east of the U.S. 41 Business Bridge, sits next to railroad tracks and was used to store timber products. Before anything can be done on this piece of land owned by the city, it needs to be cleaned by environmental engineers due to elevated levels of arsenic. "We feel like the best thing for us to do at this time is to step it up, do the rest of the testing that the DEP is requiring and get to the point of closure," says Mayor Bryant.

Community Redevelopment Agency Director Jeff Burton says his agency will pay over $50,000 for environmental testing of the soil and other expenses. Major corporations, such as PetSmart, will contribute to the dog park as well. "We match our money with other folks money. We work with all types of government agencies and private agencies," says Burton.

Burton also notes many residents have been asking for a park within city limits for a while. "The closest dog parks are in Parrish, which is 10 miles to the east, and there is one in Bradenton, which is 10 miles to the west."

There are also amenities that you will not see at other parks. “Bridges over the water…just things the animals can do to run and play...owners can sit and enjoy…and we really want to maximize that river view,” says Burton.

The process of converting the land into a park could take up to five years.