Typically, Allison Shideler walks her two dogs around her block. She’d prefer to take them to a dog park every now and then, but finding the time to get to one isn’t always easy.
“We’ve talked about going to Amelia Earhart, but by the time we get home from work it’s usually dark, and on the weekends its really busy and we have to pay to park [there],” said Shideler, 29.
Luckily for the Miami Lakes resident, her town is currently planning a dog recreation area.
The proposed dog recreation area is slated to sit on a parcel of land located in the southern end of NW 77th Court, which is a piece of land the town acquired from the Florida Department of Transportation last year.
In order to get input from residents about the proposed dog recreation area, the town hosted two meetings this past week — on Wednesday and Saturday — to discuss the concept and design of the project.
About a dozen residents attended the meeting Wednesday night, which was held at the Mary Collins Community Center.
At the meeting, residents were given information about the dog recreation area, and details of the project, which currently includes separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, a shaded picnic shelter and water fountains.
The town also hopes to include pathways leading to the dog recreation area to allow for non-motorized access to it.
“I think it’s going to be something fabulous for us,” said Sabrina Palacio, 37, of Miami Lakes, who brings her five dogs to parks and recreation areas often. “I think it’s important because it brings people together and you’re able to spend more time outside than inside your house watching TV.”
During the meeting some residents, including Palacio, brought up some concerns about how dog waste would be handled at the property, if the town plans on including restrooms at the recreation area, and the proper location for picnic tables.
Daniel Hopkins, the interim director of community services for Miami Lakes said the town is taking resident’s comments into consideration, and that the next step is to see if the ideas bought up at the public meetings are feasible.
“We didn’t want to get too far ahead without offering the community the opportunity to speak their minds,” said Hopkins at the meeting. “We’re very, very happy you came.”
Also at the meeting Mayor Wayne Slaton and Councilman Ceasar Mestre expressed support of the dog recreation area.
As the saying goes, if you build it, they will come — some will even be wagging their tails.