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Saturday, Jul 26, 2014
Central Tampa News

Family Dollar donates $600 to Seminole Heights group to start dog park

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SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Family Dollar, which is opening a store in this neighborhood, has donated $600 to a local group that wants the city to approve a dog park, possibly at Henry and Ola Park.

Residents who meet each Saturday at the park to walk their dogs have spearheaded the campaign. It is estimated the dog park would cost about $38,000.

Tampa City Council members have the final say.

In May, about 25 residents met with city parks and recreation officials at the Seminole Heights Garden Center.

While there was general agreement a dog park is needed, opinions differed on where it should be. Rivercrest Park, at 4802 River Blvd., and McDugald Park, at 1211 E. Sligh Ave., were suggested as alternatives to Henry and Ola, at 300 W. Henry Ave.

"It's a slow process," said dog park supporter Mauricio Rosas. "It's a one-on-one process."

The parks are enclosed areas where dog owners bring their pets to run, play and socialize with other dogs and people.

Family Dollar's donation will pay for yard signs that promote awareness about the proposed dog park. Rosas said $100 of the donation is for a Family Dollar gift card that will buy doggie treats and toys.

"When we built the new store, we made a commitment to the community we were going to be a good community partner," said Family Dollar spokeswoman Bryn Winburn.

Store representatives initially met with community resistance when they announced the company would open a store in a 70-year-old masonry building at 5100 N. Florida. Yard signs with the message "No Family Dollar" still can be seen occasionally in the neighborhood.

The goal is to collect about $16,000 in private donations as seed money. City officials have told dog park supporters that amount would be enough to get the project started, if city council members approve it.

A campaign kick-off is planned within weeks, Rosas said.

ksteele@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7652

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