There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the Texas Horse Park, one of the many baubles approved by voters 15 years ago as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, wasn't very well conceived. If the unwillingness of donors to chip in private funds wasn't proof that a fancy equestrian center in the wilds of southern Dallas wasn't a good idea, then maybe the constantly scaled-back vision, or the fact that the city wound up contracting with an accused horse abuser to run the place, should have given pause.
The same could be said for the tens of thousands of dollars of equipment that's been damaged or gone missing since construction began last summer.
According to Dallas police reports, thieves made at least three visits to 811 Pemberton Hill road last month and stole more than $15,000 worth of equipment from the nonprofit that will oversee operation of the horse park and its contractors.
The first visit took place on December 10 when burglars broke into a storage building, destroying its $4,000 metal door and making off with a pair of large compactors ($4,000), two concrete vibrators ($1,200) and about $900 of additional items belonging to Miller Sierra Contractors.
On December 21, the thieves targeted a John Deere mini-excavator, a model that fetches between $20,000 to $40,000 used, according to online ads. They damaged the machine but were unable to get it off the property.
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Police were again called to the horse park site on January 4. Some time after December 20, officers were told, thieves stole an $8,500 hay rake and $500 trailer hitch and nearly absconded with a $40,000 John Deere hay cutter.
"The suspect drove it into a tree and wasn't able to remove it from the property," a DPD spokeswoman said.
No word yet from the city on what's being done to address the break-ins. A Friend of Unfair Park who has visited the site recently describes the construction site as "porous," partially enclosed by an aging barbed wire fence with tools and equipment stored in shipping containers.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.