November 14, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Potential Establishment of Dog Park Committee - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

I have scheduled time on the November 14 meeting agenda for the Board to discuss the potential establishment of a new committee to work on the future development of a dog park in Emerald Isle.  Over the years, there have been many suggestions for a dog park from our residents and visitors, and it may be helpful to solicit volunteers for a new committee to work toward making this goal a reality in the future.

If the Board is so inclined, I would envision the Town advertising for interested volunteers to serve on the new committee.  An advertisement would be posted on the Town’s various digital platforms, and would simply request a brief email from interested individuals that states their interest in serving on the new committee.  Ideally, the new committee would consist of 7 – 10 members, and the committee could be tasked with the following activities:

  • generate community support and advocate for the future construction of a dog park in Emerald Isle,
  • coordinate fundraising activities aimed at generating 50% of the construction cost, with the Town contributing the remaining 50% (similar to the model used for other Town projects in recent years),
  • review potential dog park locations in Emerald Isle, and determine the most cost-effective location,
  • assist in the design of the new dog park, including type of fencing, layout, features, etc., and
  • any other associated activities.

The new committee would generally be modeled after the Town’s successful Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  If the Board concurs, Town staff will advertise for interested volunteers during November, and the Board could consider appointments at the December 2017 or January 2018 meeting. 

Based on very preliminary research, and depending on the specific location and design, Town staff believe that a new dog park would likely cost somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 if it is located on land already owned by the Town.  The main costs will be associated with clearing, grading, and fencing, and any new facility should have an attractive appearance and match the Town’s quality standard established for other park facilities.

It is likely that a new dog park will require ¼  - 1 acre of land for the actual facility, plus additional land for parking (if not already provided at the selected location).  Among the Town-owned properties that may be suitable for a dog park are:

  • a small area in the interior portion of Emerald Isle Woods Park,
  • the use of an existing wooded area on the Town Government complex campus, perhaps between the tennis courts and the Police Station, or between the Community Center and Fire Station 1,
  • at the new McLean-Spell Park to be developed in the future,
  • at the Senator Preston Memorial Playground site,
  • at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access in the grassy area near the bathroom building, or
  • any other suitable location in the Town that could be acquired / provided at minimal cost to the Town (a location in the wide NC 58 right of way may also be worth considering).

Town staff will be happy to support the new committee in any way helpful, and it may also be helpful for one member of the Board of Commissioners to serve as a member of the committee or as a liaison with the committee members.

I look forward to discussing this idea with the Board at the November 14 meeting.