I learned something today. I learned there are no more excuses to not have a dog park in every city or town in Florida.
Panama City just got their second off-leash dog park. (The first was Zollie Young Park on 43rd Street.) It doesn't have a name yet, at least none I could find, so I'll just call it Everitt Dog Park for now since it's located at 1137 Everitt Avenue.
With about two acres of land, some tables, water fountains and restrooms, Everitt Dog Park isn't anything real fancy at this point. But there are plans to add amenities and people and their pooches are lining up to use it.
The park is operated by Bay County and guess what? It's not costing tax payers one red cent. That's always been a big fat excuse used by some cities or counties not to organize and build a dog park for its residents. And if there ever is some interest expressed in some municipalities, the letters to the editor start from poor, non-pet-loving residents convinced they'll have to pay for something they will never use. (Forget about the childless couples, or men and women age 50 or over without kids, who still have to pay ever-increasing school taxes.)
Bay County Commissioner Jerry Girvin said the dog park cost about $16,000, but it was paid for with something called "recreational impact fees. That means there was actually no balance left to be paid with taxes.
If you're interested in helping to form a dog park in your area and want to know how Bay County Commissioners managed it without shredding their clothes and gnashing their teeth, you can contact Commissioner Girvin by writing to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to see a pretty decent listing of dog parks throughout Florida, check out our Places to Play.