Popular Riverside dog park a ‘victim of own success’

Popular Riverside dog park a ‘victim of own success’
Brooks Andrews, Edie Williams and Angela Dietrich at the April 14 cleanup at the John Gorrie Dog Park at Riverside Park

Although the turnout wasn’t what organizers had hoped for on April 14, the eight who showed up to clear the John Gorrie Dog Park of trash, rocks and dog droppings were treated to coffee and bagels, courtesy of Edie Williams, a State Farm insurance agent on Park Street.

Williams has agreed to sponsor the monthly cleanup event, which occurs the second Saturday of the month, 9-11 a.m.

“Right now the focus is on general cleanup, trash and dog waste pickup, sweeping and raking,” said Brooks Andrews, group lead for the Friends of John Gorrie Dog Park. “But eventually, as funding allows, the group would like to engage in landscaping and other projects to improve the dog park experience.”

The projects Andrews spoke of include a portion of the large dog park under I-95 which requires irrigation to keep dust down.

“This portion of the dog park has ground granite. While recommended for dog parks as long as it is irrigated regularly to keep dust down and to facilitate compaction, the irrigation system was not fully installed so the area has experienced a lot of erosion and dust issues,” said Andrews.

The other project is due to the park’s popularity with local dog owners.

“The dog park is somewhat a victim of its own success,” said Andrews. “This is especially the case on the large dog side where the pressure from considerable use has resulted in the loss of most all of the grass, and then mud and erosion problems occur during heavy rains.”

The City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department is considering different surfaces, but for the near term, has agrees to excavate some of the dirt and sand and replace it with the heavy-duty playground mulch along with concrete curbing to keep the mulch from being washed away, Andrews said. The project is expected to begin in the next one to two months.

Those interested in supporting can reach out to Andrews at [email protected], visit the John Gorrie Dog Park Facebook page or contact Riverside Avondale Preservation, (904) 389-2449. The next cleanup will be Saturday, May 12, 9 a.m.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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