Walton claims Alaqua dog park

Nathan Cobb
Walton Sun

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Walton County officials say the Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park is here to stay.

Following an October request from Alaqua Animal Shelter to terminate its management agreement with Walton County for the park, commissioners have decided that the county will step up to the plate and assume responsibility of the area.

RELATED: Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park to close in Walton County

“There has never been a discussion among this board, and I’ve never heard any sentiment of anybody in the county wanting to do away with this dog park,” said Commissioner Tony Anderson during a recent county commission meeting. ”As far as I’m concerned, we have no intentions of doing away with the dog park.“

He and other commissioners also vowed for the county to work as quickly as possible to refurbish the amenity.

“There is a section in the far back of the park that used to be fenced in that’s no longer fenced,” county spokesman Louis Svehla said. “So, the county is looking at that area to see if they want to re-fence that, but the main areas of the park that had fencing are still fenced and available.”

He added that Walton County Public Works and Parks and Recreation were actively working to make needed repairs and plan any additions that should be made.

Svehla wasn’t sure exactly what factors led to the decision, but believed Alaqua’s primary focus had shifted away from the park and to opening its new $15 million, 100-acre sanctuary.

Shelter officials were unable to comment on the matter before deadline.

“My understanding is that they have some other things that they’re doing,“ Svehla said. ”(The park), based on what I saw, doesn’t directly fit their mission now, as their mission has changed and they’ve gone on to bigger things.“