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County Council Decides Not To Expand Bicentennial Dog Park In Ormond

By on December 7, 2017 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL – After discussing the proposed expansion of the dog park area of Bicentennial Park in Ormond Beach, The Volusia County Council decided at its meeting Thursday to leave the park the way it is for now.

The dog park opened in October of 2011. After several public meetings, park staff began taking steps to expand the park in October 2017, and approximately a half-acre of land was mulched to prepare for the expansion. Those plans were halted after a member of the public filed a complaint with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) surrounding gopher tortoise locations that were found on the park property, according to County records. When a public meeting was held on November 7 of this year to discuss the expansion in light of the complaint filed with the FWC, more than 80% of the 80 residents who attended the meeting were opposed to the expansion.

The County Council discussed whether or not to take up the $22,870 expansion project again at its Thursday meeting. Council members had a variety of issues and recommendations to bring up, including the image of the dog park, the possibility of adding a concrete path, and the balance between the dog park and the trails surrounding it.

Council member Billie Wheeler said, while she is not completely supportive of expansion, she wants to find a solution to the wear and tear of the turf and soil in the large dog park. She hopes the County can come up with a way to redirect the traffic from that area to avoid mud accumulation, but she wants to keep the park’s greenery.

“I would hate to see any of the greenery removed in there, any of the trees, anything more than what already has been done, I would like to have it grow back,” Wheeler explained. “I would hate to see just an empty field, just a blank field for the dogs to run around.”

Another issue that the Council discussed was the possible addition of a concrete path to the dog park. Council Chair Ed Kelley was opposed to the idea. He said the structure would have to be ADA compliant, and he claimed he hasn’t heard anyone complaining about the sand and the grass that is already there.

Kelley addressed some public concerns that clearing of the land during the start of expansion had destroyed the park. “The entire area was not destroyed,” Kelley said. “The majority of the trail is there. You can still go to the river. You can still walk that area.” He explained that he wants a balance between the dog park and the trail areas that surround the park.

Council member Heather Post said that she was grateful for the feedback from the public regarding the dog park. “This is also a great example, I think, of citizens actually voicing their opinions and making things happen,” Post remarked.

The Council decided to leave the dog park the way it is and to have County staff come back with direction to vote on at a later date.

Bicentennial Park is 40 acres and stretches from the Halifax River to the Atlantic Ocean. The dog park area most recently made local headlines in November after several fish hooks were found in meatballs randomly placed around the dog park, and one dog ate one of the meatballs. Click here for earlier reporting.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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