After nearly a year of asking the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners for a dog park, residents in Navarre can finally yap with glee.
Last Friday, Commissioner Gordon Goodin unveiled a sign that will welcome dog owners to the county’s first-ever dog park: “Navarre Central Bark.”
Situated on a small section of a walking trail in the Navarre Sports Complex on Pawnee Drive, construction on the dog park was recently completed and open for visitors, Goodin told members of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce at its monthly Coffee and Commerce event Feb. 26.
“There are two small parks, one for large dogs and one for small dogs,” Goodin said. “I know that the City of Gulf Breeze has one, but this is the first county-owned dog park.”
County officials budgeted $20,000 for sand, fencing and labor to section off about a half-acre adjacent to six acres of wetlands.
“We want to build one similar to what they have in Shoreline Park in Gulf Breeze,” Gooding told dog park supporters at a Nov. 12 county commission meeting. “People initially wanted one on the beach but that wasn’t viable.”
On March 9, 2009, Navarre resident Josh Hawkey asked the commission to build a dog park with beach access on Santa Rosa Sound, on the northern edge of Navarre Beach Park or near the foot of the Navarre Beach Bridge on the sound’s northern shore.
That idea was dismissed after learning about protected bird and turtle species that nest on the beach.
Hawkey had collected more than 500 signatures of Navarre pet owners requesting the county create a dog-friendly park.“If this works out with the dog park, we’ll probably have one in every park in Santa Rosa County,” Goodin said.