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Lucky Dogs in Aventura PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor   
May 2016

Waterways Dog Park aims to please its visitors

SParkPatrol_1ometimes the best public relations come from those not on the company payroll.

“It’s peaceful here,” whispers Marcia Mizrachi, owner of Ozzie, a four-year-old Labradoodle.

“I don’t have children, so Claude is like my child,” admits the Maltese’s owner, Liliana Botello, with a smile. “I don’t have a backyard at home either, so we come here to meet new friends. It’s our social club.”

“This never gets old for Chase,” explains David Mittler, who is here with an active four-year-old Vizsla. Mittler’s wife comes by every day with the dog for play dates. “His breed can make him a basket case at home,” says Mittler, “but as long as he comes here, he gets tuckered out and is an angel.”

These dog owners are all Aventura residents, talking about their positive experiences at Waterways Dog Park, one of several parks in the city and the only one for dogs. Located on NE 213th Street, south of Gulfstream Park and east of its seven-acre sister, Waterways Park, these 1.5 rolling acres (possibly some of the hilliest terrain in town) offer a wonderland of off-leash romping grounds for dogs, and a resort-worthy waterfront view for their humans.

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Daily visitors -- like ten-year-old mixed-breed Buddy and his owner Alex Segev, who make the pilgrimage from condo to park “since it’s the only place he can run off the leash” -- easily arrange personal schedules around park hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. On Wednesdays, though, they must wait from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for city crews to come in to mow the grass, patch the sod, and spray for pests.

This attention to maintenance keeps the park in crackerjack shape, even six years after BT columnist Jim Harper’s first Park Patrol review of it (“Quiet and Peaceful and Calm,” August 2010) and eight years since its grand opening in 2008.

But who’s complaining? This beautiful park was and is worth the wait. In an e-mail exchange with the BT, Aventura city manager Eric Soroka acknowledges the care and forethought that went into transforming this one-time mini park.

“Waterways Dog Park was designed by city consulting engineers,” he says, “with considerable and significant input from city residents who own dogs and use the dog park.” Money was invested as well -- $378,000 was dedicated to the project in the city’s 2007/2008 budget, paid for by city impact fees.

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In return, Aventura got a lot of “green” for its dollars. Today, natural grass covers the large park grounds, and visitors enjoy dozens of leafy shade trees, such as live oak, black olive, and sea grape, as well as occasional palms. Classy yet dog-proof, a seafoam-green security fence runs the entire perimeter.

Pet waste stations are everywhere. (Attention, lazy-bone park visitors: “Poop Nazi” dog owners here aren’t shy about telling violators to pick up after their pets.) Also prevalent are green signs stating park rules and regulations, of which there are many, making clear to owners that they must be highly responsible with their dogs.

There was one complaint -- the only complaint heard from park visitors when the BT first visited WDP in March. It was from the owner of an eight-month-old unspayed female. Her dog hadn’t yet gone into her first heat and she was concerned about other dogs becoming an unwelcome baby daddy (or more accurately, a puppy daddy). The park does have a sign for that, warning owners against bringing in female dogs in season or unneutered male dogs that don’t behave like gentlemen.

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While the canines are busy loping around, greeting the new guy entering the park, sniffing and chasing each other, owners are watching them play, chatting with friends on waterside benches, or getting exercise themselves along the winding concrete walkways throughout WDP.

Not much of a chance meeting outsiders here, as the park is only open to Aventura residents. This is enforced by a photo ID card system that activates the new self-closing gate entrance by swiping the card and the gate reading its UPC code.

City manager Soroka notes, “The photo ID card is valid for entrance to all Aventura parks, and when combined with a Community Recreation Center membership, it permits entry into the Community Recreation Center. The same card also permits the resident to reserve park shelters, tennis courts, and register for the many recreation programs, classes, and activities the city offers.”

According to Soroka, the card-reader system also tracks daily visitor traffic in the park. “The average varies during the year,” he notes. “In February 2016, the average attendance was 65 visits per day.” Prime time at the park is after 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., when temperatures start cooling off. Weekends are hopping, too.

ParkPatrol_5Signage, fencing, and electronic gates are just some of the security measures in place at WDP. In addition, surveillance cameras keep watch, and a lightning warning system closes the park when lightning is detected in the area.

In the 2013/2014 budget year, security lighting was upgraded, and there were improvements made to the walkways. City of Aventura records show that $40,000 was allocated to Waterways Park and Waterways Dog Park that fiscal year, for these improvements and other necessities. Soroka says the Dog Park received a new park shelter frame and waterproof canvas roof, doggie water fountains, new metal benches, trash cans, and those self-closing gates mentioned earlier. No future improvements are planned at this time.

If dogs could speak, the BT might ask Kimba, Lady, Cali, Luka, and Christie Brinkley (not the supermodel, but the two-year-old Shiba Inu) what’s on their wish lists of improvements they would like to see at Waterways. What could they possibly want that they don’t currently have?

Somehow I doubt they could come up with any suggestions; they seem to be pretty happy with the way things are. If there were a way to track the number of tail wags per day at Waterways Dog Park, that number surely would be off the charts. Looks like Aventura has got a park full of lucky dogs.

 

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Park_map

Waterways Dog Park
3401 NE 213th St.
Aventura, FL 33180
305-466-8008


Park Rating

palm-1palm-1palm-1palm-05palm-0


Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Picnic Tables: Yes
Barbecues: No
Picnic pavilions: Yes
Tennis court: No
Athletic fields: No
Night lighting: Yes
Swimming pool: No
Playground: No

 

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