Are trees coming down at Paw Park?

Big changes are coming to Historic Paw Park.

The Sanford City Commission will hear a presentation from LittleJohn Engineering about what the new master plan for the park and the surrounding area (known as Paw Park Village) will include during it’s 3 PM work session Monday, May 11. The master plan is also on the agenda for the 7 PM regular meeting and could be approved by the commission at that time.

Paw Park 2Information available on the city’s website provided a rough sketch (PDF document) but not much detail about what changes might be coming. The information was posted late in the day on Thursday, and the appropriate staff members were unavailable for questions because City Hall is closed on Friday.

If you listen to the rumors around town, then many of the large trees at the park will be cut down as part of the planned improvements.

However, that appears not to be the case. An overhead view of the park master plan shows at least two dozen overlapping circles that normally indicate the size of individual tree canopies on most drawings that include landscape features. However, I have not confirmed that.

UPDATE: Mike Knipfer contacted me about the improvements at the Paw Park. Most people in town know him better as Gordy, the man who was the driving force to turn an under-used park that was a haven for derelicts and  drug deals into Paw Park, Central Florida’s first park dedicated to dogs. Here’s what Gordy had to say:

“I posed the question to Eddie Browder, the Landscape Architect with Littlejohn who is developing the master plan for the park. His response to me was: ‘The Laurel Oaks in the northwest corner are proposed to be removed. The city arborist evaluated them and found that they were past their prime and already have several dead limbs. There will be a few small trees removed in the northeast corner to make way for the proposed trail and corner entrance. Other than that we have been able to work around the rest of the trees.’

“Eddie also mentioned that the demolition plan for the park is being produced showing exactly which trees are involved and will soon be presented to the City.

“Nobody wants to see any more trees than necessary be eliminated from the park, and the new play areas are being designed around the present trees staying in place. Personally, I’m hoping the City will be able to relocate the smaller trees into another area of the park.”

The MasterPlan appears to call for new entrance features, more dog play equipment and at least one small pavilion.

Rough draft of Paw Park master plan.
Rough draft of Paw Park master plan.

The master plan will cost $25,000 and is being paid for by a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. There is not a cost associated with the improvements at Paw Park, however the 17–92 Community Redevelopment Agency has committed $70,000 for the improvements.

– by Dan Ping


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