South Padre Island Parks Committee plans dog park

By KREIG KOHL
Special to the PRESS

The Parks and Keep SPI Beautiful Committee held a meeting on August 17 at the South Padre Island City Hall. During this meeting, among a number of topics, the committee discused the idea of opening a dog park on the Island. This project is being spearheaded by Dr. Laurie Coker, one of the members of the Parks and Keep SPI Beautiful Committee.
Dr. Coker began by making sure everyone knew that a dog park was going to happen, as she said, “A dog park’s there. We can do it. We can do a dog park, if we have land.”
She told the committee that at first they were looking at a quarter of an acre but learned quickly that did not include parking. Suggestions had included doing a day for large dogs and a day for small dogs but Dr. Coker was quick to say, “I just think if we’re going to get a park we just need to go for it. We need to get the park we want, we need to get the size we want, and we need to move on from there.”
Dr. Coker continued that a large amount of research has been done on what to do once they get a park but that they have to make sure they have the land. To this end Dr. Coker proposed forming a citizens committee to begin scouting for land to build on. She also presented a notebook that had plots of land in it that have potential for the park, but they are all county plots and would require the city to work with Cameron county to acquire it.
She reiterated that, “There is a dog park. It’s there. It’s in our heads it’s in our minds, we just have to have a place to put it.” She also clarified, “We can’t just take a chunk of the beach. We can’t just say we’re going to put it in somebody’s backyard. It can’t be residential, and it can’t be too small.”
A citizen, Amy Beggs, suggested that if the land is not available for purchase or cannot be afforded that instead the city could lease the land from a business or property on the Island. Dr. Coker responded that this was a good idea and was why she suggested the citizen committee as it would get the word out to the entire Island and might bring forward a business or landowner who would want to help by donating or selling unused land to the project. She also let the committee and the audience know that she has two real estate agents that are looking for the proper land on the Island.
Committee member Julie Berman also wanted to let the audience know that, “The skate park, it took the previous board, and probably the one before that, a long time, and it took a lot of people working at it.” She concluded her statement with, “If we can get some citizens like Laurie’s wanting and form an action group that can really start pushing this, it’s going to get some wheels under it and it’s going to start moving in the direction that you want.”

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