Optimist Park is going to the dogs or at least part of the park is.
On April 26, officials with the City of Milton and Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners dedicated the new dog park.
Back in February, members of the Milton City Council approved an agreement with Santa Rosa County concerning Optimist Park, which is located on Old Bagdad Highway.
The agreement would allow the park, which is located behind the Parkmore Plaza Shopping Center, to host Milton Parks Department baseball and softball games as well as plans for a new dog park.
In January the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioner transferred the rights concerning operations and management of the park to the City of Milton.
Milton at one time had a dog park located at the north end of Russell Harber Landing, but after the city made further improvements to the park dogs were no longer permitted.
“As we developed the north end of Russell Harber Landing we had to shut down that dog park due to the number of people using it,” said John Norton, parks director for the City of Milton. “The dog owners were still in need of a place to take their animals to run and play, which this park fills that need.”
In the plans revealed concerning Optimist Park there will be two areas – one for small breeds and a second for larger breeds.
Since the Milton City Council approved the park in February new equipment has been put into place such as signage, fencing, and items for the dogs to run through and around on.
“We had been holding off until the agreement was official but as soon as it was approved we started working on the park,” said Milton City Manager Brian Watkins.
The grand opening will be at 10:30 a.m. at the Optimist Dog Park with hot dogs and lemonade for those in attendance as well as treats for the city’s four legged friends who attend.
Last year the City of Milton approached Santa Rosa County concerning the park with an emphasis on utilizing the ball fields for the Community Center and Parks Department programs.
“The City Manager and the (Santa Rosa) county worked together on this project with the idea of using Optimist Park as a place for not only our sports needs, but as a way to fix the issue concerning the dog park,” Norton said. “I am pleased with how the city and county worked together to see this happen for those who wanted a park to take their dogs.”
Watkins also reflected back on the need and use of Optimist Park for the new dog park facility.
“We thought, ‘Boy that would be a nice area,’” Watkins said of the grassy area at Optimist Park.
Dog Park Rules:
All users of this facility do so at their own risk.