Related story: Delray advocates ready to fetch allies for dog beach
By Steve Plunkett
Boca Raton already has Mizner Bark, its wildly popular park for dogs. Now it will cordon off part of the beach at Palmetto Park Road and State Road A1A so canines can splash in the surf.
“It’s a pilot program. Let’s see if it works, and we can take it from here,” Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie proposed at the Sept. 24 final budget hearing.
The park, modeled after Fort Lauderdale’s successful Canine Beach, will be open perhaps four hours three evenings a week and two hours early Saturday mornings. City Manager Leif Ahnell said dogs would be limited to an area in South Beach Park north of the Palmetto Park stairs.
Setting up the pilot program will cost $15,000. Ahnell had not decided on further details of the program.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I think it seems almost everybody owns a dog,” council member Anthony Majhess said.
Fort Lauderdale’s dog beach, 100 yards wide and patrolled by a park ranger at A1A and Sunrise Boulevard, is open for four hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. City residents pay $30 for a one-year permit for each dog; nonresidents are charged $45. A one-weekend pass is $7. The permits also allow dog owners to walk their pets on the sidewalk west of A1A in the early mornings.
“The 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. is a very popular time for people to walk their dogs, especially in the summer in the heat,” council member Constance Scott said, urging Ahnell to add a morning slot.
“And it’s a time when our beach is not used much,” Haynie said.
City and county residents now pay $55 a year for a windshield sticker to park at South Beach Park. The sticker also allows city residents and those in the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District to park at Spanish River and Red Reef parks. Mizner Bark is free for city and beach-park district residents; nonresidents pay $265 a year for a permit.
Jupiter is the only municipality in Palm Beach County that currently allows canines on a section of beach. Parking is free at the county’s Carlin, Ocean Cay and Juno Beach parks at either end of the town’s 2.5-mile dog-friendly stretch.
Haynie also asked about putting a temporary restroom at Mizner Bark but balked when Ahnell told her it would cost $62,000 for a “trailer-type” facility.
“There’s certainly much more inexpensive options, but I don’t think they’re quality-type. They’re more for construction activities,” Ahnell said.
CANINE BEACH, Fort Lauderdale
Days: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays year-round
Summer hours: 5 to 9 p.m.
Winter hours: 3 to 7 p.m.
Location: 100-yard section of beach from Sunrise Boulevard at A1A north to Lifeguard Stand No. 5
· Annual permit: $30 per dog (city residents), $45 per dog (nonresidents)
· Temporary passes: One-weekend permit (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) - $7 per dog
DOG-FRIENDLY BEACH, Jupiter
Days: 365 days a year
Hours: sunrise to sunset
Location: 2½ miles along A1A from crossover 25 (north of the Juno Beach lifeguarded area) to 59 (south of the Carlin Park lifeguarded area)