After experiencing a 6-month closure to undergo a major renovation, the Davis Islands Dog Beach is now open to local four-legged friends and dog-lovers to enjoy.
The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation began work on the $273,082 project on Monday, June 10th. The beach restoration project included building an offshore break water, installing artificial reef modules and adding improved seating, fencing and new sand, which will prevent future shore erosion.
"Waves from passing ships eroded the beach and shoreline, exposing rubble and making it unsafe for dogs and their owners,'' says Linda Carlo, the City's superintendent at the Office of Special Events.
Additionally, the City repaired and re-paved the boat ramp and added new Florida-friendly landscaping to the area.
"The Davis Islands dog beach is beloved by the local community. Residents and their four-legged friends come from all over the city to use this park, and now after these improvements, it will be safe and pet-friendly once again,'' says Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Two local Davis Islands business owners, Carolyn Bigley of Davis Islands Pet Care
and Jenn Fadal of Wag Natural Pet Market and Bathhouse
, teamed up to create the nonprofit Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks
-- an on-going, long-term community effort in partnership with Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.
Friends currently assists the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department
in maintaining both the Davis Islands Dog Beach and Dog Park, and fully supported the city's decision to improve the beach despite the six-month closure.
"This is an opportunity for a fresh start and to keep it maintained and looking beautiful,'' the group said in a statement. "We're excited about the long-term benefits to our dog beach.''
Funds for the project will come from Community Investment Tax (CIT). The Davis Islands dog beach is located at 1002 Severn St. on Davis Islands and is open daily until sunset.
"Parks immeasurably improve the quality of life for our residents, and I know many, many people will be happy to have this one improved,'' Buckhorn says.
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Sources: Bob Buckhorn and Linda Carlo, City of Tampa