Women Seek Dollars For New Dog Park

A proposed rendering of the Preston Hollow dog park, located on Forest.

Fundraising is underway for a proposed dog park for Preston Hollow, but the plan has some neighbors concerned about “unpleasant odors” and noise.

Meredith Powell and Pam Silvestri launched the campaign in April to raise $300,000.

The women said they are working with the city, the Dallas Parks Foundation, Friends of the Northaven Trail, the Trust for Public Land, and the Better Block Foundation to transform about 3-acres of city-owned land once considered a potential library branch site. The city purchased the former Korean Young Nak Presbyterian Church site in 2011 and leveled the property.

Two separate areas – one for big dogs, one for small dogs – are proposed, as well as a parking lot.

However, the location– on the north side of Forest Lane, between Quincy Lane and Nuestra Drive – has upset several of those that live nearby.

Neil Fisher, who said he owns a 50-pound Boxer, is in favor of turning the empty area into “anything that will beautify the neighborhood” and “is a huge advocate for dogs.” But having a dog park so close to homes is concerning, he said.

“I am absolutely not trying to rabble rouse,” he said. “I am 100-percent supportive of a park where people can walk their dogs on leash. I just don’t want to live directly on top of a dog park. It is not a pleasant way to live.”

Fisher added that there is not another dog park in the city “this close to homeowners.”

“Despite the fact that the city is assuring us there will be no noise or odor issues, there is no actual precedent they can draw from,” he said.

Janelle Alcantara, a real estate agent, said she moved to the neighborhood specifically to get away from a dog park.

“I know that the odor of dog urine and feces will fill our yards in the hot summer months,” she said. “We experienced it firsthand by living in a condo in Griggs Park. We sold our condo and bought a home, because living next to the [dog park] that all the residents used for their dogs’ toilet was grossly unpleasant.”

Added Linda Vallala, president of the Melshire Estates neighborhood: “[A dog park] will directly affect property values that are backing up against it, not to mention the noise factor for the people that are located close to it.”

Fisher and Alcantara have reached out to city officials; Fisher said he spoke with Calvert Collins-Bratton, District 13 representative on the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, and Alcantara emailed Mary Jo Giudice, director of the Dallas Public Library.

District 13 council member Jennifer Gates recenlty met with residents. Many who attended oppose a dog park at that location. Other options may be considered.