Sandy Steel, PAWS secretary, has for several years led an effort to get a dog park in our area. She spent years working with Lumpkin County Commissioners to obtain use of one acre for a dog park. No money, just the use of public land not being for any other purpose. After years of hemming and hawing, commissioners suggested she talk with the City of Dahlonega. Following the first meeting with City Council, Sandy’s husband, Rick, had the following printed in The Dahlonega Nugget as a Letter to the Editor. We love it!
A letter to Local Politicians: “They paved over paradise and put up a parking lot.”
In 2008, Sandy Steele moved from Los Angeles to a small village in the North Georgia mountains to take care of her mother, who had developed Alzheimer’s. She simply told me, “Nobody can take better care of my Mom than me!”
I had business interests in California which kept me there until the next year. Neither of us knew what to expect since we both had lived in large metropolitan areas all of our adult lives. We agreed to stay in Dahlonega, until her Mom passed away from this most horrible disease, two years later.
We planned on returning to our home in Southern California. However, we discovered what a beautiful, healthy and peaceful place Dahlonega was compared to big city living. So we decided to stay.
Soon, Sandy unexpectedly became the parent of a rescued Border Collie named Susie. She noticed there weren’t any dog parks to take Susie located anywhere in the Dahlonega area. So, Since late 2008, she’s been working with a wonderful group to build a dog park here. Only the land need be donated.
For the next 7 years, Sandy worked as hard on this project as any in her life. Unfortunately to no avail.
To put that in perspective, during a seven year period in L.A., Sandy wrote and published four books, created a health and beauty company, wrote a weekly column for The Beverly Hills Times, produced and hosted a weekly radio show, co-wrote a screenplay for a major feature film and founded a public company… and held numerous charity events for kids at our home
I mention these accomplishments because she’s not a braggart and would never acknowledge them.
Recently she appeared in front of the local officials in Dahlonega. There was a vacant piece of property in town that could possibly be used as a one acre dog park.
Sandy provided the extensive research requested by City Councilmen. She answered all their questions. Many of her fellow dog park enthusiasts were in the room. That’s when it happened…. a councilman suggested the green space be paved over to be a parking lot.
Many in the room gasped! I”m old enough to remember the Jimmy Buffett song many years ago. “They paved over Paradise and put up a parking lot.” The funny thing is that song is based on an actual place in Malibu that we’ve been to numerous times: Paradise Cove. And the parking lot is still there!
Sandy doesn’t know that I’ve written this letter to The Dahlonega Nugget. I simply wanted people in Dahlonega, especially dog owners, to understand how hard she’s tried to help people in your lovely village.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting three Presidents of the United States including our neighbor in Los Angeles, Ronald Reagan. I consider my wife Sandy, the most incredible person I’ve ever known. Richard Steele