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Pinecrest to look again at Wayside Park for dog run

 

bvaldes@MiamiHerald.com

Some Pinecrest dog lovers applauded council members Tuesday for being good girls and boys after the council agreed to revisit Veterans Wayside for the site of a future dog park.

The council decided to withdraw its $2.5 million proposal for the purchase of the horse farm located at the corner of Southwest 72nd Avenue and 96th Street after Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez broke news that the land owner received two unsolicited offers of $5.5 million for the land.

“We’re at the point where we realize it’s not happening,” said Mayor Cindy Lerner, who then proposed to bring a resolution before council in October that would convert all of Veterans Wayside Park into a dog park.

Veterans Wayside was the original recommended site of a dog park three years ago, but the council could not reach an agreement.

Now the council has decided to allocate $100,000 in next year’s budget for the project with a location to be determined.

Dog-park advocates thanked council members and announced they are in the process of becoming a non-profit organization, so they may find sponsors and funding to help with the associated costs.

In other news Tuesday, the council chose to add a $25,000 feasibility study of a Pinecrest fire rescue department in a 4-1 vote, with Lerner dissenting..

Galiano Gomez did not include the study in her budget recommendations to council.

Councilman James McDonald said, “Let’s do the study to see what we can do to have options and ammunition.”

Offsetting the $25,000, the council unanimously retracted their request of $40,000 for a state lobbyist.

Mayor Lerner said she does not recommend it after the recent series of events with state lobbyists in surrounding communities, but she did acknowledge the opportunities that could be missed by not having someone present to represent their interests in Tallahassee.

She cited this year’s missed opportunity to lobby for public water because they were not informed.

“Having people on the ground in Tallahassee is important to know when we can get money, but also when the Legislature wants to take something away from us,” said Councilman McDonald.

The council will still employ a federal lobbyist for the next fiscal year.

One item that residents were upset did not pass was the installing of lightning warning systems at parks. The meters would cost about $50,000 to be installed at Evelyn Greer, Suniland, Village Green and Flagler Grove Parks.

Lightning meters are currently used at various parks throughout the county, and residents said it is a safety hazard not to have them.

One resident suggested installing meters at two parks instead of spending $20,000 on an electric-car charging station at Pinecrest Gardens.

The meters were voted down 3-1 with Lerner dissenting and Vice Mayor Jeff Cutler absent.

Two public hearings will be held on the budget, on Sept. 11 and Sept. 16. Both will be at 7 p.m. at the Pinecrest Municipal Center, 12645 Pinecrest Pkwy.

The budget is available for review at www.pinecrest-fl.gov.

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