Pensacola dog parks have been closed since Hurricane Sally. They may re-open next week
More than two months after Hurricane Sally, both of Pensacola's dog parks are still closed for repairs, but city parks officials hope temporary fixes will at least get tails wagging again by next week.
The dog parks at the Roger Scott Athletic Complex on Summit Boulevard and the Bayview Park on East Lloyd Street have been closed since Sept. 16, when Hurricane Sally came through and dumped torrential rain and heavy winds on Pensacola.
The weather damaged nearly all of the city's 93 parks in one way or another, said Brian Cooper, the city's parks director. The dog parks were no exception.
“We had a big washout, a huge hole at Roger Scott, and the crews took it upon themselves to take some dirt and fill it in last week,” Cooper said. “But we’re still waiting on the fence repair work at both locations. The contractors are just so backed up right now.”
Cooper said all contractors in the city have long wait lists at the moment because of the huge volume of work that has to be done after the hurricane. The dog park fences fall relatively low on the priority list, so they are going to be some of the last jobs to be completed.
The 17-person city parks crew, meanwhile, has been clearing downed trees from all the parks.
“We wanted to get the community parks back open so the kids could have somewhere to play,’ Cooper said. “Then the city tree work had to get squared away so all the parks could be free from tree damage, and then the athletic fields were next on the list. Next is dog parks, and then the waterfront parks will be last on the list because those are all FEMA related.”
Although it may take awhile for the fences to be fully repaired, Cooper said the city is looking to install temporary patches on the fences to at least be able to get the Bayview regular park and Roger Scott dog park open by next week. Crews are going to put temporary patches on the Bayview dog park fence and the Roger Scott big dog park fence, while they Bayview beach dog park – which is separate from the regular park – will have to wait for Federal Emergency Management Funding before it can reopen.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls,” Cooper said. “We know how important it is to people.”
The parks department says it's also working up two new dog parks by next year, one at Kiwanis Park in West Pensacola and one at Hitzman-Optimist Park off of Langley Avenue.
Annie Blanks can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8632.