Our city councilmembers are working to turn an unused piece of green space into a temporary dog park — if they can find the money.
The vacant lot at the northwest corner of Forest and Nuestra is the future home of the new Preston Royal Library. The city plans to rebuild the 50-year-old library at the new location, for about $6 million. Several years ago, the city bought the land and demolished the abandoned Korean Young Nak Presbyterian Church in 2011. Details for the new library have been presented to neighbors, but there’s no funding until the 2017 bond program — and even that’s not a sure thing.
Councilman Lee Kleinman, whose district borders the site, says that even if funds for the new library made it into the next bond package, we wouldn’t see the dirt begin to turn until 2020 or later.
In the meantime, it’s just an empty lot. And those are hard to come by in North Dallas. So, Kleinman and Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates have been kicking around the idea of creating a temporary dog park on the site.
They’ve come up with a rough design and a cost estimate, just over $230,000. It takes more just a fence to establish a dog park. There’s irrigation, signage, lighting, marked parking spaces, ADA ramps, and more to consider.
So, where will the money come from? Gates says it’s unlikely to come out of the city budget, so she’s hoping to receive sponsorships from local pet service companies and private citizens.
Gates and Kleinman say residents would likely welcome a dog park; the councilmembers have received no negative feedback so far from the adjacent Melshire Estates neighborhood. It’s common to see neighbors with their dogs off leash on sports fields and whatever open spaces they can find. The Westminster Community Dog Park is a popular hangout among Devonshire neighbors. The Friends of the Northaven Trail have hosted pop-up dog parks along the trail.
Still, North Dallas rates low when it comes to the amount of public green space.
“When our neighborhood was developed, it was developed around backyards and not open spaces,” Gates says. “There’s a movement now, and people want more open space. It adds to the community element and enhances the quality of life.”
Even though the dog park would be temporary, it would help gauge the use of such a space in our neighborhood, as well as potential concerns, making it a little easier to establish a permanent dog park at some point in the future.