JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Riverside dog owners are getting excited about the possibility of a new park for their four-legged friends. The City Council will be getting its first read of a bill that will fund a new dog park on Park Street Tuesday night.
Dog owners have said that life can be rough for those who want to socialize their dogs but don't have a dog park nearby. City Council member Jim Love said he knows the struggle, which is why he is asking for funding at Tuesday's council meeting to bring a new dog park to Riverside. with dog owners ready for the new addition.
"It's been a long time coming," dog owner Ron Swaniger said.
Travis Waagner said even though Riverside is already pretty dog-friendly, he's excited that Pilgrim, his 6-month-old corgi will have a park that's closer to home.
"I think it's going to be incredible -- within walking distance, maybe a five-minute bike ride. I'm super excited," Waagner said.
The cost of the park, $300,000, will be split, half-and-half, between the Riverside Avondale Preservation and the city. Trey Csar, with the preservation, said community support has been huge, since there is only one dog park in Riverside.
"They were taking them to Confederate Park, where there is an off-leash dog park, or they were taking them to one of the existing parks in the neighborhood and sort of quietly letting them off leash and run around. So there was strong neighborhood interest from all across the board," Csar said.
Two acres of Riverside Park will be dedicated to the dog park, with a section dedicated to larger dogs, and then a grassy shaded area dedicated to smaller dogs.
A proposal shows the park will take up the northwest corner of Riverside Park, right across from College Street. Some key features include a shaded pavilion to enjoy the breeze and a decomposed-granite ground cover that makes the park easy to maintain.
RAP has managed to raise close to $200,000 on its own, and members hope the last piece of the financing will come from district council bonds.
If all goes as planned, dog owners around Jacksonville will have a new park for their dogs by the end of next year.