Thursday, June 26, 2014
After three years and plenty of happy barks and wagging tails, Skydogs Family Dog Park is shutting its doors.
The park, located on U.S. 78 near Summerville, is a popular location for dog owners, with a wide variety of amenities for the dogs and their two-legged friends.
The problem is not community support, owner/operator John Harper says — the park gets between 300 and 1,000 visitors a week. Harper, however, is tired of getting the endless runaround from Charleston County, he said. He explains his reasoning — and the sources of his frustration — in a 20-minute video he posted to YouTube, which has registered more than 2,000 views since it was posted on June 24.
At issue is a retention pond at the rear of the five-acre property, which was in existence when Harper first leased the property. When Harper first envisioned his dog park, part of his future growth plans included using it for dock diving and other activities.
“It could have been great — great for us, great for this area — we could have had national competitions coming here,” Harper said.
Instead, he has, since the first day he opened, been butting his head against a wall of bureaucracy, he said. Worse, no one can seem to give him a straight answer as to what he needs to do to so he can use the pond that already exists and ready to go rather than subtract from existing play space to dig a new pond. He said he has been told there are environmental issues as well as drainage issues, but has received no definitive information other than he would need to spend $15,000 to $20,000 to improve the pond and ensure it meets requirements, whatever they may be, he said.
Charleston County officials have indicated the pond must meet state requirements for storm water runoff and drainage.
Harper has said he will re-open elsewhere, but has not decided where yet.
“I just know it’s not going to be in Charleston County,” he said.