Sebastian pooches now have place to romp on Keen Terrace

SEBASTIAN — Residents in North County now have a place closer to home to take their dogs to stretch their legs off-leash. Sebastian city leaders gathered at 9 a.m. Saturday to cut the ribbon, officially opening the Sebastian dog park.

“We’re all thrilled that it’s here,” said Sebastian resident Rich Haller, while watching his dog, Barney, romp with others in the park. Now that the dog park is open, city leaders are starting to determine what the next phase might include. Restroom facilities, more seating and more shade should be the next step, according to resident Jim Holland.

“There’s room for improvement,” Holland said. “But we’re happy” to have the park.

Kate Stensland, one of the original citizen volunteers to help get the park moving along, mentioned that the water fountain needs to be moved, too. She explained that it is currently not ADA accessible. All it needs, according to Stensland, is to be turned 90 degrees to make it compliant.

Mayor Richard Gillmor and City Councilwoman Dale Simchick both expressed interest in having dog-related events at the park.

“I’d like to see a dog parade,” the mayor said just before cutting the ribbon.

Simchick mentioned having “extreme pet tricks” for dogs, which might include a competition of dogs catching flying discs.

Linda Scott, a member of the citizens group involved in the dog park, said that they are working to create a support organization – perhaps called Friends of the Dog Park – to keep watch over the park and raise money for amenities at the park the city might not be able to purchase right away.

Anyone interested in joining the group, learning more about it, or wanting to donate are asked to e-mail Scott at lscottie@comcast.net.

The Sebastian dog park is located on Keen Terrace, just off South Wimbow Drive. It is split into two areas, one for large dogs and another for small ones under 25 pounds.

Small dogs are allowed in the large-dog area but large dogs are not allowed in the small-dog area.

For now, the park is being called Sebastian Dog Park, though some residents expressed interest in assigning another name to it.

Carol Wilson has suggested Pelican Paws Park, invoking Sebastian’s connection to pelicans.

City Manager Al Minner said that the city has not discussed naming the park, nor does it currently have plans to solicitate names for it.

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