Who wants a dog park? Not these Melshire Estates neighbors.

The May 21 community meeting at Walnut Hill Recreation Center was standing-room-only, with homeowners invited to provide feedback to a panel of council members, park representatives and library directors.

The topic: Should a temporary dog park supported by private funding be built on unused neighborhood land purchased through the 2006 bond program for a future library? City bond elections have not funded the building of the library, and the site at Preston and Nuestra remains a vacant lot.

The panel included District 13 Council Member Jennifer Gates; District 11 Council Member Lee Kleinman; Jo Giudice, Library Department Director; Willis Winters, Park and Recreation Department Director; Robert Kent, North Texas Area Director for Trust for Public Land; Calvert Collins-Bratton, Dallas Park and Recreation Board member for District 13; Jeff Kitner, Dallas Park and Recreation Board Member for District 11; and Meredith Powell, Friends of the Northaven Trail board member and the person who spearheaded the dog park project.

As panel members made their presentations, neighbors frequently interrupted with boos, backtalk and questions.

The bottom line: Many neighbors in the meeting don’t want a dog park in this space. Gates, who moderated the panel, said after 55 minutes of discussion the City needs to address what to do with the land.

Options discussed at the meeting include:

• Selling the land and using the money to upgrade the Preston Royal Library, built in 1964.
• Retaining the property, creating a library close to the Dallas North Tollway and using the remaining land for a dog park.
• Creating a park.
• Finding another property for the library.
• Finding another property for a dog park.

This illustration shows the original proposal for the temporary dog park.

“This was a private opportunity that had come forward,” Gates said at the end of the meeting. “It’s not going to move forward if it’s in my district, and I oppose it. I wanted to hear back from the community before I move forward.”

At the end of the meeting, Powell said the pop-up dog park scheduled at the site June 2 has been canceled. She said there is support for a dog park in the area, and she will continue researching options and other locations.

Background: We wrote a story about the temporary dog park proposed at Preston and Nuestra that was published in the June Preston Hollow print edition of the magazine prior to a May 21 community meeting at Walnut Hill Recreation Center to discuss the park. Neil Fisher of Melshire Estates, an objector of the park, talked to us for the story.  He lives on Brookstown Drive with two fences separating him and his family from the park.

“I’m not dog averse,” he says. “My wife and I both like dogs. We have a 7-year-old daughter and a 50-pound boxer that is looking at me while we are talking… It’s not a park. It’s a social gathering place. My experience is that it’s 6 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday, and there’s people out there yelling at their dogs and at each other. Dogs were barking at 9:30 on a Tuesday night when I’m trying to put my daughter to bed. It’s very different from a park.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.