Club forming to promote canine park in Sebastian meets Thursday

SEBASTIAN – In the nearly five months since the dog park in Sebastian opened, residents and dog lovers alike have been working to form a club to promote and improve the park.

Now, that club is just 1 day away from selecting its officers and coming up with a name for itself. The group is meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Roseland United Methodist Church.

 

The plan is help the city in coming up with a game plan for the park’s future.

For instance, some residents have expressed interest in one day having lights at the park so that people can bring their pooches for an evening romp. Currently, the park is only open during daylight hours.

“There are lots and lots of things people are interested in,” said one of the organizers, Kathy Stensland.

The dog park, which opened in early August, is located on Keen Terrace off South Wimbrow Drive. It draws numerous residents daily, though the city doesn’t measure attendance.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Chris McCarthy said every time he drives by the park he sees several people – though it “might be a stretch” to call the dog park the most popular of the city’s park.

“I think it’s been a great asset for the city,” McCarthy said of the dog park, adding that the city maintains but doesn’t police the park – that’s left to the visitors.

“For the most part, it’s going very well,” he said. “Everyone seems to be cleaning it up.”

Regular dog park visitor Linda Scott said the people are working really hard to make sure the park stays nice. She brings her four-legged friend Gracie to the park five or six times a week.

“She’s standing at the door,” Scott said of Gracie when it gets close to the time they normally leave for the dog park. “The dogs know (when it’s time to go), it’s crazy.”

Both Scott and Stensland said the park serves as a social place not only for the dogs but for their humans as well.

Stensland added she has met new people and has become friends with many of them when she’s brought her two mutts, Tigger and Bunky to the park. Dogs help break the ice, she said.

“I wish I could live at the dog park,” she said, but she and her dogs make it over there about once a week.

When the city opened the park this summer, there were plans down the line to add restroom facilities for the visitors.

McCarthy said that restrooms aren’t expected “anywhere in the near future” as the city’s budget continues to be squeezed.

That’s could be where the dog park club could come in, hosting fund-raisers to pay – perhaps in part – for improvements to the site, including restrooms and lights.

Stensland said the club also could be interested in sponsoring events at the dog park such as a Halloween costume dog parade or Christmas-themed parade.

Anyone interested in joining the club or learning more about it can attend the group’s next meeting or e-mail dogparksebastian@gmail.com.

The next meeting will be held Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Roseland United Methodist Church, 12962 Roseland Rd.

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