Lighting that would allow after-dusk use of a city dog park planned near Lake Mirror was jeopardized when bids came in higher than the city had budgeted.

But the lighting and a few other amenities may be on the way after the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board voted today to add $100,000 to the $50,000 it had already committed to the project.

The issue next goes to the Lakeland City Commission, which can approve, deny or alter the expenditure.

In addition to lights, the CRA funds would pay for signs, decorative fencing and a poured-in dog walk.

The 27,242-square-foot Central Bark dog park is planned for 678 E. Main St., between The Joinery, an artisan food hall expected to open in a few weeks, and the park-and-ride lot under the U.S. 98 overpass above Rose Street.

The $100,000 would be borrowed against proceeds from the nearby planned Mirrorton community to be built on land the CRA recently sold to Tampa developers Framework Group.

The city had budgeted $300,000 for the park. But the bids came in at $660,000, so the Parks & Recreation Department “value engineered” the project to $470,000, according to a memo from CRA Executive Director Alis Drumgo.

Drumgo recommended the CRA fund the lighting and other amenities that would be cut if the city stuck with its $300,000 budget.

“Staff views this dog park as a key amenity to the future of downtown development with the incoming residential uses and opening of the Joinery,” he wrote in a memo to the board. “Removing (them) would render the dog park useless after dusk, and less attractive to users overall. The dog park is a great way to repurpose the existing space that is currently underutilized, and can also be a link to the downtown and the East Main District.”

The CRA advisory board decided against providing funds for a $25,000 mural for now and a $50,000 contingency fee, bringing a requested $175,000 down to $100,000.

Also: Ledger coverage

The city’s current dog parks, all built in the last six years are:

  • Douglas M. Cook Park, 955 Wedgewood Estates Blvd
  • Lake Crago Park, 525 Lake Crago Drive
  • Dog Leg Woods, 3326 Cleveland Heights Blvd.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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