Wednesday, May 11, 2011 , Updated 9:26 a.m., May 16, 2011
UPDATED: Pop-up pooch park debuts in Oak Cliff on Saturday
Before residents build a dog park, they want to be sure they have the community's support.
OAK CLIFF Three North Oak Cliff residents are pushing to get a private dog park built within walking distance from their homes. And they did what many in Oak Cliff have successfully done: They started a website, told their friends, and will set up a temporary dog park on Saturday to see if it will really work. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Catherine Dodge and several others at Fido Oak Cliff are hosting a pop-up pooch park.
“I think people want to see something tangible,” said Dodge. “You do a pop up event and it brings home reality – this is what we could have! … We just want the idea to resonate with people.”
Dodge, plus partners Robbie Good and Michael Reagan, want to build a private dog park in North Oak Cliff because they don't have the desire to build a large, city-run park. “The city has some very specific requirements for dog parks, which we feel don't really fit our needs,” Dodge said. “They want them to be large-scale, mega dog parks. We just want a small, walkable community dog park that people who are local use.”
Saturday's pop-up pooch park will show them just what kind of interest a dog park could generate. The event will be at Turner and Polk on a small stretch of land that is part of a local beautification project. Ultimately, that parcel of land is too small – Dodge hopes to get a 2-acre plot for the actual park – but as a temporary park, she says it will be a good example. The fencing is being borrowed from a Better Block project, plus Fido Oak Cliff organizers will have to buy more fencing to be sure dogs are properly barricaded.
Dodge says her team has almost finalized a piece of land for the dog park, but they won't say where. If the land is donated or leased at a very small fee ($1 a year for 10 years, she suggested), then it is estimated that the group will need to raise $40,000 to $70,000 in order to build and pay for a dog park. Those costs would cover water for the dogs; waste disposal for doggie unmentionables; fencing; parking; and maintenance like mowing and cleaning the area.
The group is also compiling a list of interested people. They were able to spread the word during the Oak Cliff Mardi Gras parade in 2011 when they partnered with Leslie McKay of Green Pet in the Bishop Arts District.
“A big part of this is just to raise awareness,” Dodge said. “Dog parks aren't just for the dogs; they're for the owners. It's really kind of an ice breaker and a way to build community.”
UPDATE: According to Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, it took the volunteers three hours to get the dog park set up. They report that city councilmember Delia Jasso has asked Fido Oak Cliff to continue hosting a pop-up pooch park for the next three months. She might help make the park permanent.
Here's a recap video posted to YouTube:
Pop-up pooch park in Oak Cliff
Shannon Sutlief contributed to this story.
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