Tuesday, July 26, 2016

[UPDATE] John Prince Park: Groundbreaking for dog park and expansion this Friday. But what about the Gopher tortoises?

Here are the details from the County website:
Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana and county officials will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 29, at 9 a.m., in John Prince Park near Mound Circle Pavilion.
This dog park will have new gazebos, parking, 6′ wide asphalt and concrete paths, and other amenities (see excerpts from the Lake Worth Herald below). But what about the Gopher tortoises who live there? Will they be relocated or just buried in place?

If you didn't know, one of the biggest objections to making any changes to John Prince Park, such as a Spring Training baseball facility, is that Gopher tortoise habitats will be disturbed. Learn more using this link.

Then there's the additional traffic, noise from barking dogs, additional need for more infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer lines, electricity, and possibly even LED lights at night that some think cause safety/health issues.

In Lake Worth a nearby neighborhood, the Residences of Lake Osborne (ROLO), will certainly be severely affected. Expect to hear from the president and vice president of ROLO at the next Lake Worth City Commission meeting about this in August. They will surely demand that their concerns be addressed and that Gopher tortoises are not adversely affected.

For more on this, below is news from the July 7th edition of The Lake Worth Herald:

     The dog park will also include five gazebos with benches, drinking fountains for human and dog use, dog wash areas, and doggie bag stations with trash receptacles.
     The expansion will also include accessible six-foot wide asphalt and concrete circular paths in each area, park benches along the pathways, and asphalt bike/pedestrian trails that connect to the rest of the park. [emphasis added] 

[and. . .]

     In addition, 42 regular parking spaces and four ADA accessible parking spaces will be added.
     Future improvements include a new playground and renovation of the existing playground, two new restrooms, new pavilion, wider multipurpose pathways, additional picnic tables and parking.
ROLO must demand less intensity from the impact of this new dog park in John Prince Park. Will Gopher tortoises be protected? Noise issues? Traffic? So many unanswered questions.