Dog lovers will have to wait a little longer before construction on an off-leash dog park in downtown Naples begins.
Naples City Council on Wednesday voted against a budget amendment that would have paved the way for work to begin on the park, which will be built on 99 Riverside Circle, a piece of city-owned vacant property.
The city has received $152,000 of the $187,000 pledged to the project, which is “sufficient to offset the cost to build” the park, Community Services Director David Lykins said in a July 27 memo to City Council.
Some council members who said they were not prepared to appropriate the money were concerned about spending money without a proper plan in place.
“We need the rest of the plan before we commit these kinds of dollars,” Price said.
The dog park will feature a fenced-in play area, drinking fountains for dogs and humans, a shade structure, benches and low maintenance irrigation with native landscaping.
Both the construction of the park and regular maintenance will be paid for through private donations, said Matthew Kragh, the Naples architect who designed the park and is a dog park supporter.
But council members said Wednesday they didn’t have a plan in writing that outlined who would pay for the maintenance and what would happen if private donations stopped coming in.
Public demand for an off-leash dog park started last summer, after a group of residents playing with their dogs were asked to leave the grounds of Gulfview Middle School. Community members — led in part by Kragh — worked with city officials to come up with the plan for the city’s first off-leash dog park.
Kragh said Wednesday the group planned to keep $15,000 in reserves each year to ensure the park would be well maintained.
“People are upset that the park isn’t moving forward,” Kragh said. “I’m a little afraid they are going to start asking for their money back.”
Kragh said a finished park would mean more donations, since people would be able to enjoy the park and see where there money was going.
“We just want to get it up and built so we can raise more money,” he said.
Wednesday’s decision doesn’t mean the end of the road for the dog park, though. Council members will likely vote on the budget amendment on Sept. 15 following a discussion about the long-term plan for the dog park.
In other council action:
■ Naples City Council approved a project that would create a mixed-use project on 12th Avenue South.
The project would create 3,412-square feet of new commercial space on the first floor. The space currently has 4,706 square feet of commercial space. It also has four new residential units on the second and third floors. Plans will include bumping up residential units to seven when combined with the three existing units.
The project also includes converting some of the commercial space into a restaurant with outdoor seating and would be located from 350 12th Avenue South to 395 12th Avenue South.
■ Naples City Council approved the date for the annual Christmas parade. The parade will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. Several streets along the parade route will be closed from 4:30 to 9 p.m. that day.
The parade begins at Third Street South and Broad Avenue South, makes its way down Third Street South to Fifth Avenue South. The parade ends at Cambier Park.
■ Naples City Council reappointed John Allen and Cormac Giblin to the Naples Airport Authority. The airport authority is the governing board of the Naples Municipal Airport, and the board is made up of volunteers appointed by Naples City Council.