MARCO ISLAND — The only thing tying up what is to become Collier County’s second location for dogs to run off-leash is about $35,000. Marco Island City Council unanimously approved the name for the area in Mackle Park, to be called Canine Cove.
They also approved regulations which will keep the runs open to most dog owners, including non-Islanders, in a meeting Monday evening.
Currently the only other dog park in the county is Rover Run in North Naples, near Immokalee Road.
Naming of the Marco dog park, which includes a one-acre fenced area for big dogs and a smaller fenced area for little dogs, was left to ballots filled out by Tommie Barfield Elementary School and Marco Island Charter Middle School students.
The Parks and Recreation Committee picked Canine Cove, suggested by second-grader Cassie Sullivan, as their favorite name and council agreed.
Sullivan won a pizza party for her class and a McDonald’s gift certificate.
Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk outlined the four policies of the new off-leash dog ordinance.
Dogs cannot be allowed to run along the perimeter causing disturbance to neighbors. Dogs must be supervised. Pet owners are financially responsible for any property damage caused by their animal and current tags and vaccination evidence are a must-have.
A site plan for the dog runs located in the southern portion of Mackle Park, on Andalusia Terrace, was created in-house.
Milk said about $5,000 of the anticipated $40,000 cost for the project has been raised so far.
Vice Chairman Frank Recker questioned why this particular project was being funded by residents’ contributions only, with the exception of the donation of city land.
Councilman Jerry Gibson said it all went back to when the idea was first proposed a couple years ago and wasn’t very popular.
The primary cost is the black chain link fence and landscaping to provide sound buffers and shade, Milk said.
Councilman Wayne Waldack asked why there wasn’t a fee and registration required to make the park a profit center.
“Don’t we want all users to be registered so we know who’s using the park?”
“Should we register kids for using swings?” quipped Gibson who has been an avid supporter of the dog runs.
Despite Waldack’s questions, he was quick to second Gibson’s motion for approval and the new off-leash dog run, Canine Cove, was unanimously approved.
Resident Deborah Chapman, also an avid supporter of the park, asked if council would consider helping to fund construction to move the project along.
“If we do have a shortfall, perhaps we could find the money to get this up and finish it?” she asked of council.
Chairman Rob Popoff suggested Milk bring the funding issue up in the late summer during budget hearings if fundraising was still an issue.