When commissioners voted to purchase two residential lots adjacent to Hagen Park they had no plans to develop them.
Now the lots, located on Northeast 21 Drive, may be used for a new dog park.
Patrick Cann, Leisure Services Department director, said city officials were looking at every city park to see which area is best suited for a dog park. The dog park is currently located within Colohatchee Park.
“I don’t know that we will move away from Colohatchee. I still think it has the most room. There have been inquiries from residents about putting dog parks in different locations.”
Cann said the advantages and disadvantages of each possible site will have to be weighed, such as the park’s proximity to residences. If the Hagen lots were chosen for a new dog park they would be between two residential buildings. Many other cities in Broward, such as Oakland Park, Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, have dedicated dog parks that are not surrounded by residences.
The commission voted to purchase the two properties in October of 2013 for $390,000. In early 2014, the multi-unit buildings were demolished for $13,000. The money was taken out of the reserve fund – $3.4 million before the purchase.
Vice Mayor Scott Newton and former commissioner Ted Galatis voted against the purchase. Most residents who spoke at the commission meeting were against the purchase, saying that the money should have been better spent on existing parks or not spent at all.
Those who supported the purchase, Mayor Gary Resnick, Commissioner Julie Carson and Commissioner Tom Green, said the city had an opportunity to acquire land that could be used to expand Hagen Park in the future.
Cann said that even if the Hagen lots aren’t chosen the city is looking at ways to beautify them. Dog litter stations are also being considered for some of the existing pocket parks, possibly funded by private individuals or companies. “We’re being more pet friendly,” Cann said.
Dog park users interviewed by The Gazette seem fine with the dog park’s current location. At least two think it should probably be expanded to take up more of Colohatchee. “It’s really just a waste of space. You never see kids play [on the playground]. You never see anyone playing volleyball,” said Fort Lauderdale resident Tony DeMarco.
At the May 26 commission meeting, resident Boyd Corbin called for the city to assign a dedicated park ranger as a means to stopping individuals from using the park for sex.
In recent years, the park has gained a reputation for such behavior, either inside the bathroom or, in some cases, on the boardwalk.
Cann said the park is already monitored on a daily basis. “The maintenance staff goes through several days per week and a park ranger goes through and closes the park every evening.”