CLEARWATER, Fla — If you’ve ever walked the shell paths of Enterprise Dog Park in Clearwater, you know it’s a pretty popular place for dogs and humans.
It means, “Everything. For my dog and for me both,” said Robert McKee, who goes to Enterprise Dog Park daily.
“I come every single morning at 7 a.m., and it is my recreation, it is my peacefulness,” said Elliot Bruder.
Dan Parri brings his pups twice every day. He calls it a solace place but on January 17, 2022, the gates will be closed for several months for renovations.
“I was surprised that nobody has ever heard of this before, and then when I did reach out, the mayor emailed me back and just said they don’t do outreach on projects that don’t make substantial changes,” said Parri. “In my opinion when you’re closing a park for three to four months, you’re making substantial changes in peoples lives.”
Elliot Bruder’s daily routine is about to change.
“It was like what am I gonna do now? This is what I do every day,” he said.
“I can’t imagine what kind of renovations would take four months to close the park down,” said McKee.
And while folks aren’t arguing with the city that renovations are needed, they can’t understand why the city didn’t at least reach out to people who come here daily for their thoughts on what is needed.
“The city missed out on an opportunity to engage citizens, bring them into the process, and if the city had said look this is our budget, and this is all we can do, and we say well, we would like to see other things and they say alright then we need more money, we would be happy to work with the city to raise money,” said Parri.
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard says crews aren’t reconfiguring the park. But, work will be done to improve drainage, crews will bring in mulch, repair and replenish the shell paths, rebuild the bridge, replace the water bowls and bring in new sod. But several folks say ditch the sod and use the money to build a bathroom.
“What we need is a lavatory. Particularly for the women, to go to the bathroom. That would be nice something like that,” McKee said.
“This is one of the few parks in the county that doesn’t have a bathroom so lots of people have to leave, we have a lot of senior citizens people and walkers and wheelchairs they come to this park they don’t have anywhere to go,” said Parri.
They also hoped the park could be shut down in increments so people can still use certain areas, but Hibbard says it couldn’t be phased, because the parking lot of being used for staging.
“The city just sees this as another property they own, that it’s the city property to do what the city wants, not the city as in the citizens,” Parri said.
Editor's note: This article previously stated the park closed on January 3. The Enterprise Dog Park closes for renovations on January 17. It will reopen on April 17.