Lessons learned from our first attempt at a permanent dog park

In April 2014, it was announced with great fanfare that Elmwood Neighborhood Association (ENA) was the recipient of a $9,157 GrowSouth grant to turn our temporary pop-up installations into the very first official dog park in Oak Cliff. It was expected to be a smooth transaction that would allow for installation of a 6-foot fence, a waste bag dispenser and some benches within a 60-day timeframe.

Kenneth Denson was president of ENA at the time, and he has explained to us how land-use restrictions essentially brought the project to a screeching halt. While a small space, the location at 2100 S. Edgefield Ave. was picked because it is classified by the City of Dallas Streets Department as a median; as such, no permit was needed for the pop-ups as long as fewer than 75 people attended. Kenneth continued working on an operations manual requested by the city and tried having a $1,000 land-use application fee waived when the city’s real estate department informed him that this parcel of land was never dedicated to the city after Frank Jester ceased development of Elmwood Addition.

The delay resulted in forfeiture of the grant and no funds were ever received for Elmwoof dog park. In seeking an alternative site, many suggested using land along the Elmwood Parkway greenbelt. A meadow near the intersection of Elmwood Blvd and Edgefield Ave seems very well suited for a dog park. “[Locating it at] Elmwood Park would require it to be a [Parks & Recreation] project,” Kenneth said via NextDoor. “We'd need 2-3 acres of the park dedicated as the dog park, and [the city] will require an environmental study. The total ticket price would be about $500,000 - $750,000.”

Until a solution is found, whether it be locating the heirs of Frank Jester, purchasing private land or requesting use of DART property at Hampton Station, we will continue to host Elmwoof pop-ups at 2100 S. Edgefield as a unique demonstration project that our neighborhood can be proud of. Join us this Saturday from 11am-3pm and let’s talk about what’s next for Elmwoof!