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People to watch in 2016: Carol Erker

Carol Erker, president of the Rotary Club of Longboat key, has helped raise money for Bayfront Park’s new off-leash dog park.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. January 6, 2016
Carol Erker
Carol Erker
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Thanks to Carol Erker, the dogs of Longboat Key will find more reason to wag their tails in 2016.

Last summer, Erker, president of the Rotary Club of Longboat Key, pushed the club to raise $10,170 for an off-leash dog park at the new Bayfront Park.

“I think it will be a great place for residents of Longboat Key to congregate with their pets,” she said. “It will be a terrific social opportunity for both the dogs and the owners to meet each other.”

Longboat Key's Rotary Club has advocated for a dog park since its founding in 2014. It raised money at its Hot Diggity Dog parade, which was part of the town’s Fourth of July celebration, and an anonymous donor donated several thousand dollars in September.

“The bulk of the money came through a donor who became aware of our interest in the dog park and determined that working through us would be the best avenue for making that park special,” Erker said.

Erker hopes part of the funds will go toward a water station for the dogs.

“I hope to have a water feature that dogs will find refreshing in the hot climate,” Erker said. “I felt the water was not something some dog parks have done well, so I’m hoping Bayfront Park can meet that need.”

In addition to the Rotary Club, other Key organizations have contributed toward the new Bayfront Park. The Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key donated $6,135 for a new children’s playground, and the Longboat Key Garden Club donated the same amount for shade trees to be planted in the future children’s playground area.

Erker, a former real estate attorney, moved to Longboat Key from Barrington, Ill. in spring 2014. She had been a member of the Rotary Club since 1987 and joined Longboat Key's chapter when she moved.

Erker’s year-long term as Rotary Club president began July 1. Under her tenure, the club has grown from 29 members to 42.

In November, the club hosted its second Veterans Day parade, and this past year, it opened a food pantry at Tuttle Elementary School in Sarasota. Erker hopes to continue and expand these programs.

“I am delighted that the Rotary Club has matured into a well-known and well-respected organization on Longboat Key in 2015,” Erker said. “We’ve got some great programs underway, and I really hope to establish a signature fundraising event in the next six months. We have a good group of people, and I think we’re on our way to accomplishing a lot.”


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