The White Rock Dog Park is a wonderful place, and not just because it was the the first official off-leash space in the city. It's a friendly place reliably thronged with good-natured canines and the people who love them. It's part of what makes White Rock Lake such a gem.
That said, the park has a tendency to turn into a mud pit, much of the grass having been worn away by overuse; it's often overcrowded and a headache to get to by car; and it lacks the some of the amenities enjoyed by its newer cousins in Far North Dallas.
All of that is presumably why the city of Dallas is embarking on a $1.1 million renovation/expansion of the park. The Parks Board is set to decide Thursday whether to allocate the money, which will come from 2006 bond funds.
The Park Board agenda is light on detail, and the city hasn't yet returned a call, but trolling through the White Rock Dog Park's Facebook page reveals the schematic you see above. Judging from that, it looks like the large dog park will be expanded to include a chunk of the brushy area currently outside the fence. The heart of both the large- and small-dog areas will be covered with an "improved surface," presumably a durable synthetic, presumably to reduce the amount of bare dirt.
A gate to the large dog area will be added along the trail, something that's sorely needed. That and the other entries will be done in stone with prominent signage. There will be a dog wash, "shade structures," an observation deck overlooking the swimming area, and a place for events. And finally, the overflow parking lot, currently gravel with a bottleneck of an entry, will be paved and striped.
These are all much needed improvements. Here's hoping they get cracking soon.
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Update on March 6The city plans to get cracking very soon indeed. Richard Stauffer, who is overseeing the project for the Parks Department, said the hope is to advertise for bids in April and have construction underway by July. It should take about 8 months, during much of which the park will be closed to allow the sod to take root.
That's the one major change to the original plans, the rendering of which you see above. The city has jettisoned the artificial turf idea. The manufacturer had claimed that it wouldn't stink but, given the climate and the volume of dog urine and feces it would have to absorb, the city had its doubts. "Looking at it, it does get hot here and, more than likely, if it's not constantly washed down, it would start to smell pretty bad," Stauffer said.
The turf would also have an antimicrobial agent that, while presumably cutting down on the smell, would need to be replenished on a regular basis, making it unworkable.
Instead, the city's going with real grass. To keep it from turning into a large dirt patch, the plan is to install an irrigation system and improve drainage.