WELLINGTON, Fla. - The pooch owners love the park.
But they're disappointed with pavilions the village installed to block sun and rain.
"The roof is so high off the ground," resident Elliott Krakow said. "If it's raining at a slight angle anything underneath this roof blows in anyway. Unless the sun is immediately overhead, there's no shade."
A solution is coming though.
After fielding complaints about the three pavilions installed in June, village staff met with Wellington Dog Park frequenters last month and committed to erecting one shelter that's bigger. Staff will collect feedback in coming weeks on where to put it.
Krakow wishes staff had consulted with dog owners before the village spent $30,000 on the pavilions - concrete slabs with four posts that lead to a slightly peaked 8-foot by 12-foot roofs.
That's not general protocol, despite the pavilions having been installed at the request of park users, said Jim Barnes, Wellington's director of operations.
"They didn't specify it had to be specific size," Barnes said. "Perhaps we should have asked them. Perhaps they could have been clearer in what they wanted."
The park splits into sections for small, medium and large dogs. The village strove to accommodate all three, Barnes said.
"We looked at cost," Barnes said. "At least this puts some shade in small, medium and large."
Sherri Garz was disheartened when she saw the meager shelters - but for different reasons.
"I don't even necessarily think we need a shelter there," Garz said. "If you need a shelter, then it's too hot for your dog to run. If it's raining, don't go. If you're there, you know when a storm's coming."
Plus the park has several large shade trees. During the scalding mid-day sun on a recent afternoon, owners relaxed on benches beneath trees. The shelters were bare.
Garz would have preferred the money spent on a canine wading pool or agility course.
It not yet clear how much a larger shelter will cost, but money spent on the other three won't be a waste, Barnes said.
The existing pre-engineered structures, which connect like erector sets, went up easily through an existing contract Wellington has with a vendor. They can be dismantled and moved elsewhere. The village might put them in Village Park or neighborhood parks, Barnes said.
Dog owners hit on a few other potential improvements during their meeting with village staff - auto-locking gates and trees that don't drop fruit the pooches like to munch on but probably shouldn't.
That said, if the village doesn't make any more improvements some of the dog lovers, including Krakow, wouldn't mind because the park already offers a lot, they said.
Before it became a park, the space had a fence around it but no gates, so dog owners put trash cans at openings to keep the canines inside. Also, the ground used to get muddy after just one day's rain, but grading and drainage changes keep it drier now.
"They have done so much," Garz said.
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