Thursday, April 19, 2007

Signs of Renewal

Our neighborhood park (Lakeview) has seen some improvements lately, and during the cool hours of April, it’s nice to stroll its “hills” and swerving waterways and to glimpse its wealth of living creatures.

The dog park, disc golf course and petanque playcourt are all getting good use, but the park also offers passive rewards just as it is.

On a recent evening walk, I noticed that the county has installed at least two anchored wooden benches – one down by the public boat ramp, the other on the “point” of land that recently got a haircut. (One whole side of foliage was taken down at the request of the Sheriff, in order to give patrol cars a view from the pavilion area.)

There's more:
  • The public bathrooms are also looking quite clean after getting new doors, new paint, and new lighting – at least it looks like new, larger amber light fixtures.
  • The county also came in and trimmed a lot of deadwood along the water’s edges –- this at the request of the Fire Department -- and pulled a picnic table out of the trees.
  • Someone – probably Parks and Rec – painted and spruced up the pavilion grill, and is now installing new picnic tables.
  • Fire ant killer has been applied to the myriad antpiles that've popped up in the past month.
  • And a group of Sarasota disc golf players spent an entire Sunday fixing up goals and tees that had suffered from weather and vandalism, pouring concrete at their own expense.
  • All these welcome improvements came not long after some Lake Sarasota residents spent a March weekend cleaning out dead tree limbs, brush, and litter. George Morgan in particular did an amazing job pulling everything from picnic tables to beer bottles out of the canals. A lot of people came out and helped.
It'll come as no surprise that, as a result of these retouchings, the park seems to be getting treated with more respect. There's less litter, for one thing. And graffiti has not returned (yet) to mar the bathrooms or grill. The canals have remained relatively free from trash, the wandering picnic tables have stayed out of the trees and canals, and dog owners seem to be taking more pains to collect deposits.

So, right about now it’s a pleasure to walk around Lakeview Park. Its rather extravagant origins as a developer’s fantasia -- complete with goosey gondolas and water skiing elephants -- have relaxed into a tamed wildness filled with amazing birds (as Lynne’s slides attest), turtles, fish, and at least one young gator.

The other evening, as I walked my dog Max, there was a powerful whirr of wings to our right. The large blur settled onto a high limb, and looked at us through the large attentive eyes of a barred owl. It watched as we walked by, then, as we were about to cross the bridge, it gave one great echoing hoot. As if to say, “ok!”

Thanks to everyone who pitched in. The park is looking good. That's not to say it couldn't look better. A brief wishlist might include:
  1. A dispenser for doggie bags near the pavilion.
  2. Removal of some dead trees, and a good dose of fertilizer for the rest.
  3. Planting new trees to replace those that have been removed.
  4. Getting some tips from environmentalists on how to freshen up the lakewaters.
  5. And, as long as we're wishing: restore the pumps that apparently are still there in the park to get the water in the canals circulating.
Any more ideas for the park or the lakes? Drop us a line.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scratch the fertilizer from the list. It is a prime sorce of water polution. The dog owners that do not clean up after their pets are bad enough. And parks are a part of the natural environment, not a yard.

tom said...

This is why it would be useful to have someone with expertise give us some advice. Yes, some fertilizers are noxious. But some are moreso than others. And there's the question of how to apply, in what quantities that will help a starving tree without danger to the lake.

Your mileage may vary, but I walk the park nearly every day, and encounter uncollected dog deposits rarely.

Thanks for your interest.