Status on SoWal dog park on JD Miller Rd | Page 2 | SoWal Forum - South Walton Florida
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jodiFL

Beach Fanatic
Jul 28, 2007
2,479
709
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.
 

Sun Chaser

Beach Lover
Aug 18, 2015
214
86
Miramar 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.

  • 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.
 

Sun Chaser

Beach Lover
Aug 18, 2015
214
86
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?
 

jodiFL

Beach Fanatic
Jul 28, 2007
2,479
709
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.
 

jodiFL

Beach Fanatic
Jul 28, 2007
2,479
709
SOWAL,FL
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?
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.
 

DanaMarie

Beach Comber
Jun 22, 2016
35
43
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.
 

DanaMarie

Beach Comber
Jun 22, 2016
35
43
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..
 

jodiFL

Beach Fanatic
Jul 28, 2007
2,479
709
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.
 

Sun Chaser

Beach Lover
Aug 18, 2015
214
86
Miramar Beach
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.

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.
 

elgordoboy

Beach Fanatic
Feb 9, 2007
2,436
511
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.
 
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