Board chases Naples dog park idea

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — An old idea that seemed to be buried under other priorities has resurfaced: the creation of a dog park in Naples.

Selectman Rich Cebra brought to the table a service that many of his constituents would like to see established in town.

“This is an idea I got from some people. A recurring question is: Why don’t we have a dog park? Most towns do it,” Cebra said.

He handed out sketches to the Naples Board of Selectmen during its Monday night meeting.

“We have some property next to the fire station. It would be a 100 x 100-foot fence,” he said.

He described a second fence with an entrance to the outside and another entrance to the main area, which prevents dogs from escaping and is referred to as “an air lock.”

“We would need a pooper scooper like on the Causeway. We could see if local businesses will invest in advertising signs to put around the fence. A couple benches for people to sit while their dogs play. There are boiler plate signs that tell what the rules are. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Cebra said.

He said the most logical hours of operation are sunrise to sunset like the hours of most parks and playgrounds in town.

“We have land. It won’t cost a lot of money. We need about 400 feet of five-foot tall fencing,” he said.

Naples Animal Control Officer (ACO) Jessica Jackson, who was present at the meeting for another agenda item, weighed in on the dog park concept.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Jackson said, adding she had some words of advice.

“If it’s near the fire station, you should have a six-foot tall fence. When those sirens go off,” the dogs will go wild, she said.

Selectman Kevin Rogers said the former ACO, along with other community members, started a fundraising campaign for a dog park on town land off State Park Road. That land has been sold since.

“I knew people who donated money and have asked where it went,” Rogers said.

Naples Town Manager John Hawley said, “I have been told that there was money.”

Chairman Jim Grattelo took the floor.

“This is perfect for Peter [Ceprano], our community activities director,” Grattelo said, adding that a skate park is another idea that some residents would like to make a reality.

Cebra spoke on the subject.

“Until today, I didn’t realize there was money kicking around,” Cebra said, adding as the owner of Steamboat Landing Miniature Golf, he “would kick in for a business sign.”

Cebra suggested off-street parking by the Naples Fire Department.

Grattelo said he would contact Ceprano about looking into the costs of this project. He agreed that Steve Merkle, who heads the Naples Maintenance Department could install the fencing with a few helping hands. Grattelo also requested that the town manager look into where the dog park funding might have gone.

“Thing like this are not expensive to do,” Cebra said. “And, it is a quality of life thing.”

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