Status on SoWal dog park on JD Miller Rd

Discussion in 'Pets and Animals' started by Sun Chaser, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Miramar Beach
    Heard today that the dog park may be closed? Something about it being a liability for the county? Anyone have any info on this?

    I sincerely hope this park does not close. It's one of the best dog parks I have ever visited. And much needed in the southern end of the county.
     
  2. leeboy

    leeboy Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2015
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    I may be off on details but it was county run and now run by Alaqua Animal Refuge. Maybe they lease from county and losing lease? Alaqua is undergoing change also...

    Alaqua Unleashed
     
  3. elgordoboy

    elgordoboy Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    377
    Location:
    I no longer stay in Dune Allen
    This is not good, not good at all. Personally I’d rather they closed the beach. I find this to be a bigger issue than the customary use crap. Call your county commissioners, call your state representative. Lord if you’re listening ..Heeeelllllppp! Seriously
     

    Attached Files:

  4. elgordoboy

    elgordoboy Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    377
    Location:
    I no longer stay in Dune Allen
    The original small dog section and large dog section remain open for now but it’s a ridiculous swamp. And confining
     
  5. Songhunter

    Songhunter Beach Crab

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2019
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Santa Rosa beach
    Alaqua is relinquishing their lease. They get too many threats to be sued by people who like to ruin it for the rest of us. The county is supposed to take it over in three months, but because they refused to assist Alaqua in any upkeep costs they may or may not keep it open. It’s important to contact the county and let them know how important it is to keep this. Tourists love it too. For now the large back section is padlocked. So only the lower parks are open which makes it all a bit crowded if lots of dogs show up at the same time. This is not just good for dogs but the people of this community to come together.
     
  6. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Miramar Beach
    We that have enjoyed this unique park need to get organized. Perhaps we can form a committee/group that can operate it while the county retains ownership?

    Ideas:
    • Charge somewhere around $40/50 per year like the beach permit and issue a tag similar to beach permit. All dog parents must produce proof of rabies vax. Owners would need to sign a liability waiver.
    • Install gates with coded entry.
    • Not sure how to accomodate tourists, but we need to. Maybe they can purchase a pass for the week at the TDC welcome center or the South Walton courthouse complex?
    It will take citizens to keep this going.
     
  7. DanaMarie

    DanaMarie Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Point Washington
    I would love to help. I don't actually use the park even though I have a dog, but that's only because he gets a little too overstimulated when there are so many other dogs around. However, I'd still be willing to buy a permit or to make a donation towards upkeep. I think many dog owners around here (and there are a lot) would be willing to buy a pass.

    Does anybody know what the annual maintenance cost is?
     
  8. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Miramar Beach
    Perhaps we could have an informal meetup at the dog park in the next week or so? Just to bounce around ideas? I will try and set up a fact finding meeting with Alaqua to see what issues they had; what was working and what was not working and to see what guidance they may have going forward. I think it would be best if a few people (rather than just one person) would be able to meet with Alaqua.

    Ideas???
     
  9. DanaMarie

    DanaMarie Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Point Washington
    Sun Chaser, you have some great ideas. I would love to meet at the dog park and bounce around ideas. I am also available to meet with Alaqua with you and others if others are available. I think meeting with Alaqua for guidance before approaching the county is a great idea.
     
  10. elgordoboy

    elgordoboy Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    377
    Location:
    I no longer stay in Dune Allen
    At the moment Alaqua is the one causing the problem. Everyone is encouraged to post here and have any concerned parties post here also. Sowal cannot be without a top notch dog park and when the back is open our dog park is certainly world class. Tourists are exuberantly complimentary on a weekly basis and as locals we know how important it is. Watching the dogs stare forlornly up top is heartbreaking, they don’t understand why they cannot go up. That said, I do not understand why I cannot go up. I imagine a Facebook group page will be up very soon for invites and info. Any assistance and information Alaqua is willing to share would be welcome as there are people ready to relieve Alaqua of this “burden”. Inquiries are being made through private channels and if anyone else is able to do so with anyone of authority at the county level or Alaqua please do so. We will get on the agenda at an upcoming county commission meeting soon. If “liability” is the issue why is only the nicest part of the park locked up? Yesterday the 26th of December in the afternoon there were close to twenty dogs in both the small and large dog section. These areas are too confining as is, much less when the pools of water are eliminating the use of half the area. And it does not dry up! Apologies for the digression, it’s a passionate topic. Specific info with specific actionable items will be posted tomorrow. Much appreciated and best of luck to us all, human and canine alike.
     
  11. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,313
    Likes Received:
    468
    Location:
    SOWAL,FL
    Alaqua causing the problems? nawww... could it be that it isnt a good "PR machine" or "profitable"? Just something that the dogs and their companions desperately need? Sorry if I sound cynical .... I have seen AAR turn away many great dogs saying they dont have room only to be on the news the next day asking for money for the 35 dogs they "rescued" from "horrible" conditions. Sorry but my $$ goes to the Walton Co. Animal Shelter....they dont get to pick and choose which animals they take in.
     
  12. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Miramar Beach
    • I called Alaqua and the young lady that I spoke with said that Alaqua's lease is up in three monthut they decided to go ahead and close the large wooded area. What is the thinking behind that? That section is the best part. If there is a section to close it would be the northernmost section, the large dog part that stays swampy most of the time.
    • The section they closed has not had the grass mowed since Spring of 2019.
    • If Alaqua was leasing the property, why was the county supposed to assist in upkeep? Where can a Walton County citizen view the lease?
    • Granted there are always bad apples, but I can't see where Alaqua has been sued, ever.
     
  13. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Miramar Beach
    The southernmost section of the park: the section with the agility equipment. It stays locked with No Trespassing signs. Do those folks that use it for training lease that section from the county? Or from Alaqua?
     
  14. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,313
    Likes Received:
    468
    Location:
    SOWAL,FL
    According to AARs site they are the ones that hold the agility/obedience classes. "Alaqua Unleashed is supported through memberships, sponsorships and donations." Doesnt say anything about the county being responsible for up keep. They shouldnt be IMO. But that "community outreach" is lacking .....I googled Walton Co. FL low cost spay/neuter when someone dropped a weeks old kitten in my yard last year,all that would come up was AAR but when I called them all they did was give me the number to OPERATIONSPAYBAY. Fortunately there are more options on there now but SpayBay was right there when I needed it and was indeed low cost.
     
  15. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,313
    Likes Received:
    468
    Location:
    SOWAL,FL
    I would think that an organization that received over $1.1 million just in the month of November that it wouldnt be that much of burden to pay for the upkeep.
     
  16. DanaMarie

    DanaMarie Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Point Washington
    Agree with you jodiFL, that (1) upkeep should not be a burden for AAR given AAR's resources and that (2) unless the lease requires to the County to help with upkeep (which is probably does not) that there isn't any reason the County should do so. As someone else (maybe you?) mentioned, the park probably just isn't worthwhile or useful to AAR anymore, either in terms of profit or publicity.

    I was asking if anyone knew the maintenance cost so that when a meeting is held with the County that we had as much information as possible. It would also be interesting to know what AAR was paying to lease the property and see the other terms of the lease, as SunChaser mentioned.
     
  17. DanaMarie

    DanaMarie Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Point Washington
    I read SunChaser's suggestions of purchasing passes, and my saying I'd be willing to make a donation, as being when the County takes over, if the County won't keep it open or won't pick up full maintenance cost. I was not suggesting people pay AAR to use the park or that I was going to make a donation to AAR to hope they'd keep the park open or renew their lease..
     
  18. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,313
    Likes Received:
    468
    Location:
    SOWAL,FL
    I cant really see the lease being that much but I am sure the insurance is another thing all together. Perhaps the county will be willing to keep it open and do as you say with the permits. They have one for your dog to be on the beach (for visitors and residents alike) so it shouldnt be that hard for them to enact one for the park.I am sure if enough visitors were for it maybe the TDC could get involved and fund parts of it.
     
  19. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Miramar Beach
    TDC funds would make total sense regarding the parks. I met many out of towners this year, lots of nice people. And this was with very little promotion of the park.

    If TDC is involved, perhaps they can pay for visitors permits to use the park sort of like they do during high months at Grayton and Topsail.
     
  20. elgordoboy

    elgordoboy Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,300
    Likes Received:
    377
    Location:
    I no longer stay in Dune Allen
    Yes TDC funds would be the answer as this is a fantastic draw for dog lovers visiting the area. Like Sun Chaser I hear travelers praises for the park weekly. Passes and permits would be a logistical nightmare and better avoided if possible. Tourists would find getting them very inconvenient and likely we would lose much of the good will that the park engenders in folks that are passing through. I agree with jodiFL’s take on most of this. The lease cannot be much as it seems that the plot was a dump for inorganic material way back when. A dog park seems the highest and best use of the parcel, good for locals and tourists alike. As jodiFL mentions the insurance could be a big deal but other communities and towns manage the liability and risk. Grayton is the crown jewel of 30a and what is the catchphrase? “Nice Dogs, Strange People”. How can we not have a special place for our canine family members? For anyone with interest please consider joining Log into Facebook | Facebook
    I hope Kurt and Teresa are ok with me linking this here. Perhaps we can get the numbers and will that we need. It’s a work in progress and all input, ideas, and help are welcome.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019

Share This Page