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City abandons Whitaker Gateway Park dog park plan

At Monday’s City Commission meeting, the board also set a public hearing on the proposed Lido pavilion project and moved forward with establishing a park district.


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  • | 3:53 p.m. November 6, 2018
  • Sarasota
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The City Commission is calling off the dogs — or rather, the dogs’ park.

 On Monday, the board voted 4-1 to abandon previously approved plans to build a dog park at Whitaker Gateway Park, located near U.S. 41 and 14th Street. The decision came after residents in the nearby Bay’s Bluff condominium building voiced strong opposition to the project.

Although the commission discussed the proposal at multiple meetings before approving it in 2017, Bay’s Bluff residents said they weren’t aware of the plans until after the vote. Those residents have appeared in front of the commission this year asking them to reconsider the project.

They argued visitors already regularly use Whitaker Gateway Park, and they expressed concerns about the effects a dog park might have on noise and parking availability.

“From our perspective, there wasn’t the desire or need for a dog park in Whitaker Park,” Bay’s Bluff resident Ann Hotaling said.

Their latest round of lobbying proved successful. A majority of the commission agreed to set aside the dog park plans, directing parks and recreation staff to explore other opportunities for using the funding budgeted for the project. Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch cast the dissenting vote.

Also at Monday’s City Commission meeting: