Summary of december meeting – BARC

Hello everyone. This is Fran Gorecki from the Brevard Animal Recreation Coalition (BARC). BARC held it’s fifth monthly meeting on November 28, 2011. Once again, thanks to Father Conway, we met at the Sanctuary at St. Peter’s Old Catholic Church. The meeting was attended by 14 people. Some people came to prior meetings and we were also happy to see some new faces in the crowd. We had a lot of news to report this month!

BOO AT THE ZOO – The first item on the agenda was to give a big thank you to Hilary Steinberger for sponsoring a table and providing the candy for the trick or treaters at the “Boo at the Zoo” event at the Brevard Zoo. The event took place on two weekends and the Zoo permitted us to obtain signatures on our dog park petition. Thanks also go to all of the members who manned the table and helped pass out the candy and get signatures. As a result of everyone’s hard work, we were able to obtain a large number of signatures at the event.

SIGNATURES TO DATE – We were very happy to announce that we have accumulated 4,995 signatures on our petition since BARC was formed in June. Thank you to all of the BARC supporters who have worked so hard to help us to gather those signatures! The petition drive is ongoing. If any of you need more petitions, please let me know.
SATELLITE BEACH – The next item on the agenda was to provide an update on the proposed off leash dog park in Satellite Beach. The good news is that the City Council voted in favor of Lorraine Gott submitting a grant request to the state and she has already done that. Satellite Beach is going to proceed without waiting for the grant money and the park is expected to open sometime round April, 2013. The park will be approximately one acre and will have a pond and a separate area for small dogs. They may charge an admission fee and they are considering having an attendant during the normal hours of operation.

Lorraine is planning to put together a fund raising campaign starting in mid-December. Nine people at the meeting signed up to make donations. For those of you who were unable to attend the meeting, I would appreciate it if you would send me an Email if you are willing to help out. Please provide your name, mailing address, phone number, Email address and also indicate whether you are willing to contribute money, labor or both. I am sure that any amount of money will be gratefully accepted. No amount is too small and you don’t need to commit to a particular amount at this time. I will forward a list of donors to Lorraine. When she starts the fund raising campaign, she will contact you with further details. We hope that all of the dog park supporters will lend a helping hand so Satellite Beach can get their park up and running! We are very excited about this because it will be the first off-leash dog park in Brevard County. We hope it will be the first of many!

DOGPLEX PARK – The next update was on the commercial Dogplex Park that will be owned and operated by dog lover Lisa Grace Kestel. Lisa Grace has been trying to get a dog park going for several years and she is now close to signing a lease for land in Viera West of Interstate 95 near the proposed Viera Community Park and the proposed shopping mall. The off-leash area will be approximately 10 acres and a separate 5 acre tract of land will include a building and agility course. A variety of dog related services are under consideration. Lisa is also planning to provide a much needed shelter for dogs during hurricane evacuations. It’s still too early to provide a grand opening date but Lisa Grace would like to open the park as soon as she can.

When Lisa Grace first contemplated opening the park, she was planning to charge a $250 annual membership fee. She is now considering charging an annual fee of only $100 per family for up to three dogs. She will help support her business through the other services she will be offering. I told Lisa Grace that I would ask all of you whether you might considering joining her park for a $100 annual fee. Could you please send me an Email
if you think you might want to join for that fee? This will not obligate you in any way. I’ll just give her a count of the number of people who are interested in joining for $100. If you want me to give her your Email address so she can contact you later on, let me know.

COUNTY PARKS – Last, but definitely not least, I provided an update on our attempts to have the County build several dog parks. As I reported previously, Lisa Bologna and I met with Chuck Nelson (Director of Parks & Recreation) and Karen Palus (Manager of the South Area of P&R) on 9/20/11. We were thrilled to learn that Chuck and Karen are in favor of the idea of having a dog park. Karen has attended two seminars on off-leash dog parks recently. We were very happy to hear that P&R would try to locate land for some parks and then we would meet again.

The next meeting that Lisa and I went to took place on Wednesday, 11/13. Karen Palus had invited two other P&R employees and a civil engineer. Karen said that an equestrian group was to have a section in the new Palm Bay Regional Park which is six miles West of I95 on Malabar Road in Palm Bay. The horse group has indicated verbally that they are backing out. The County has offered part of the land to the Brevard Dog Training Club. They will build a building and an agility course. Our good news is that they have also offered BARC the land to have an off-leash dog park next to the Dog Training Club’s facility. Karen is waiting to receive confirmation in writing from the equestrian group that they are backing out. Once she receives it, it will be definite that we can use the land! Karen said we will still need to get approval from the County Commissioners later on but we would go to the meeting along with Parks and Recreation.

P&R will build the infrastructure for the off leash dog park. They will provide the roads, restrooms, the fence, a small pond and a water source. Through donations, BARC will be responsible for providing the amenities. The civil engineer is drawing up the plans for the entire 200 acre park and should be finished in January, 2014. At that time, we will meet with Karen again to review the plans.

We asked Karen how long it would take for the park to open. She said that the park would be open in two to three years, but it might be sooner. Please bear in mind that this is a very rough estimate since the plans haven’t even been drawn up yet. Don’t be discouraged! I know that all of us want the park to open a lot sooner than that! The complicating factor is that right now P&R is working on 50 different projects totaling close to $73,000,000. These projects were approved in the referendum that was passed during the 2000 election. These projects were expected to take 3-4 years for completion and the Bay Regional Park is just one of those projects. I think that we are very fortunate to be able to get land in a park that is one of those referendum projects or we might need to wait even longer. I know all of the dog lovers in the county would like to have a park immediately, but we have to work within the system and wait our turn to get the park. So please be patient. Rest assured that BARC will work diligently with P&R to get the park to open as soon as possible!

BREVARD ZOO LINEAR PARK – Karen also mentioned the new Brevard Zoo Linear Park which will start at the Brevard Zoo and have a trail and boardwalks that will run along Interstate 95. The other piece of good news is that dogs will be allowed on a leash in that park. Right now the only county park where dogs are allowed on a leash is Wickham Park. Indian Harbor Beach also permits dogs on a leash in Gleason Park, which is a city park.

P&R NORTH AREA MEETING – Karen Palus also suggested that BARC meet with Cheryl Page, Manager of the North Parks area, to see if she has been successful in locating land for a dog park. If any of you live in the northern part of the county (or anywhere for that matter) and are interested in attending that meeting, please contact me.

FUNDRAISING – Once we know for sure that we will be getting land in the Palm Bay Regional Park, BARC will need to start a fundraising campaign so that we can provide the park amenities when the time comes. We are considering a number of different options which will permit us to accept donations as a not for profit organization. If that can’t be arranged, Alan Goulet suggested becoming a Type K corporation which has a reduced tax rate. If any of you are accountants or know an accountant who might donate their services, please let me know. A few people at the meeting said they would check with their accountants. Member Sally Peters has previous experience as a fundraiser and she has offered to work for BARC for a fee.

DOG TRAINING – Sally Peters also announced that she is doing dog training that can be arranged in your home. Please spread the word. If your dog needs training, please contact Sally at (321) 459-0288 or send her an Email. By the way, Sally was kind enough to create the BARC website.

Sally will be working with the Humane Society on its fundraising efforts and she is working with Parks & Recreation on an event scheduled for October, 2013 at Wickham Park. We will provide more details later on but the event will include a temporary off-leash dog park!

HUMANE SOCIETY CALENDAR – Member Danielle Morgan’s Ribbon and Gator appear on the cover of the Humane Society’s 2013 calendar. Please support the Humane Society by purchasing some calendars!

OTHER BUSINESS – Bill Fritz is a member of the Golden Retriever Rescue Group and is checking to see if they would like to join BARC in support of dog parks. If any of you are members in any of the other rescue groups, could you please let me know? We are trying to contact these groups but they aren’t listed in the phone book. Ken Kirk offered to establish contact with Bill Dillard from the Brevard Dog Training Club and will also talk to a club he belongs to discuss their not for profit arrangements.

DECEMBER MEETING – Our last big announcement involves our December meeting. Rather than have a formal evening meeting, we are having a BARC picnic at Wickham Park on Saturday, December 15, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dogs will be allowed on a leash. We want to have a social event where we can meet all of you (and your dogs) and have a chance to chat and get to know one another. We also want to celebrate all of our progress to date! Please bring your lunch and join us at the park. Invite your friends and neighbors too! We hope we will see you there. Additional information on the event will be sent via Email by Sally Peters in the near future.

Thanks again to all of you who attended the meeting (and to all of you who have read this LONG Email all the way to the end!) Thanks also go to those of you who can’t make the meetings but who have continued supporting our organization.

I hope we’ll see you and your dogs on December 15th!

Fran Gorecki and Lynne Elliott

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