It's kind of crazy that Oak Cliff doesn't have a permanent dog park. There are more than enough hipsters there to support one, what with their dual love of rescue dogs and community gathering spots. Way more, certainly, than Far North Dallas, which boasts Dallas' two newest dog parks.
That's about to change. ElmWoof, the monthly pop-up park in OC's Elmwood neighborhood (get it?), just received the city's blessing/cash to become permanent, winning a $9,000 grant through Mayor Mike Rawlings' GrowSouth program.
ElmWoof was launched 18 months ago with neighborhood volunteers and $450 worth of supplies from Home Depot. It's been successful but a bit of a chore for neighbors to set up and take down every month.
bcWORKSHOP fellow Mark Lea, who helped spearhead the effort along with Elmwood Neighborhood Association President Kenneth Denson, said the permanent set-up won't be much more elaborate than the pop-up version. The fence will be six feet high rather than four and some local architects are going to design benches. Otherwise, it's going to be pretty no-frills.
"Let's be honest: It's not going to be nearly as nice as the White Rock Dog Park," which is about to close for a $1.1-million renovation, "but it doesn't need to be," Lea says. People just want a place to hang out and let their dogs run off-leash.
ElmWoof organizers managed to avoid the fate of the planned Kidd Springs dog park, which was indefinitely put on hold after neighbors came out against it. When plans were being discussed for a permanent ElmWoof, Lea says one woman expressed concern about noise and traffic but dropped her opposition when she was told the dog park had already been happening for months without her noticing.
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There's no firm timeline for construction beyond the year deadline spelled out in the terms of the growSouth grant, but Lea says it should be completed by the end of April.
"Building a dog park once a month is not something many people want to wake up early on Saturday morning to do."
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.