Bloomingdale High School student volunteers cleaned benches and other areas around the Bertha and Tony Saladino Dog Park at the end of April.

On April 30, senior Noah Hirji and his fellow Bloomingdale High School students hosted a park cleanup at the Bertha and Tony Saladino Dog Park off Bryan Road in Brandon. Student volunteers from Bloomingdale’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) met at the dog park to complete the community service project assignment by their AVID teacher, Jacquelyn Marshall.

“We chose [the Saladino Dog Park] because all of us in the team are pet-friendly,” said Hirji. “We all take our dogs there from time to time. We thought it was due for a cleaning, so we got to work.”

The cleanup lasted for three hours, as the group of AVID students cleaned benches, blew leaves off the turf and pressure washed the sidewalks.

“It is important to be involved in the community because it does so much for us, so this is the least we can do to give back,” said Hirji. “Things like this are what keep the community strong.”

The Saladino Dog Park cleanup was the first one Hirji’s group had done at that park, but they have participated in other community cleanups throughout the year. They have cleaned up school parking lots, churches and roadsides to further beautify their local environment.

The 2.6-acre park was opened in 2018 for families to bring their dogs. It is free for guests to enjoy the open area with benches and water fountains for the pet owners. The land is separated for larger and smaller dogs and has covered areas with picnic tables in each part. Since the dog park is non-staffed, it relies on the generosity of students and volunteers who donate their time and materials to cleaning up the area so visitors can continue to use the area.

“My family and I are very appreciative of the Bloomingdale High School students cleaning up the Saladino Dog Park,” said Tony Saladino. “It’s a good feeling to have community assistance at the park, and we feel that the patrons and the dogs that attend the park are appreciative also.”

For more information on the Saladino Dog Park, visit or contact 813-744-5978.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.