APOLLO BEACH – An area residents say has gone to the dogs will soon also be the home of skateboarders.
A dog park is finished and ground broken for a skate park at the Apollo Beach Park and Recreation Center, 664 Golf & Sea Blvd.
“We’ve been trying to get these improvements for five or six years,” said Pat Woolweaver, president of the focus group that spearheaded the planning. “Now that the dog park is up and running, it’s one of the most used in the county.”
The dog park, which has separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, was begun in February and completed in September. It occupies 3.5 acres of the 9.5 acres acquired for park expansion at the existing Apollo Beach park.
Now the focus is on the building of a skate park in the area between the tennis courts and the existing park playground and common rooms. Ground was broken for this project in early October and the target date for completion is April, according to a Chris Postiglione, county engineer in charge of the project.
“We got the local kids in on the planning,” said Woolweaver. “Skaters came to the focus group and met with county planners and gave input. They feel they have a vested interest in it now.”
County planners say that will lead to better upkeep and less vandalism.
“That made it very cool. It’s their park,” Woolweaver said. “This makes it nice because the people who will use it got to help plan it.”
Both the dog park and the skate park are public areas designed for community use.
The dog park has chain link fencing, an entry area where dog owners can unleash their pets and look inside to see who is there and what is going on before they enter. Inside both the small and large dog area there are benches, shelters, poop-scoop stations, disposal cans and heavy plastic baby pools.
The pools were donated by individuals in the community as were shade trees and palm trees, Woolweaver said.
Woolweaver uses the park regularly with Teddy, her 3 ½-year-old Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix, who she says always plays well with other dogs at the park.
No vicious dogs are permitted at the park as all dogs run unleashed.
On Oct. 21, Teddy made friends with Lassie, a two-month old collie owned by Christian Adrianzen.
Adrianzen lives near the park and walks there often.
Others come from farther away, like Tony Parks of Riverview who was watching Lula and Taco play in the pools in the large dog section that day.
Lula and Taco would run and jump into the water, roll around and then run off in the grass, only to return to the pool a few minutes later.
The dog park is an enjoyable experience for both owners and dogs with its shade trees, shelters, dog washing areas, ADA regulation sidewalks, landscaping and dog agility play areas.
Both the dog park and the skate park were paid for with impact fees collected by Hillsborough County. Impact fees come from new construction on a site where no one has lived before, and therefore “impact” county facilities, such as parks.
The cost of the dog park was approximately $100,000 and the skate park will cost $500,000 to design and build, Postiglione said.
“Other miscellaneous skate park plans will total another $400,000 which will include a future skate shop building, expanded parking area and lighting.”
The skate shop will feature ramps and a bowl for skating, shade shelters and a skate shop building with restrooms, Postiglione said.
The planning and design and construction are by Flores and Harper Construction Company, Charlotte Engineering and Team Pain.
Team Pain is a specialist in skate park design and has worked world-wide creating custom skate parks for municipal and government agencies, communities, private sectors, professional skateboarders and BMX riders.
People who wish to learn more about the Team Pain parks may visit www.Teampain.com.