Dog Park Survey Says…!

Off-leash play for East Falls dogs? Neighbors weigh in on proposed plans for a dog park at New Courtland. 


On behalf of East Falls Forward, we sent out an informal neighbor survey last month exploring what kind of dog park would serve our community best.

With more than a hundred responses so far, preferences and attitudes are already coming to light. We’ve graphed the current data and added comments but meanwhile the survey is still open & accepting input.

EFF’s compiling our answers for EFCC and New Courtland — and also neighboring Ridge-Allegheny-Hunting Park’s community leaders, who share jurisdiction of Scotts Lane & the Mills with East Falls.  Indeed, we hear the proposed dog park land is technically within RAH’s boundaries, so… let’s not take for granted that everyone’s on board.

Fortunately, about 18% of our survey-takers so far are from communities around East Falls — news seems to be getting around to local dog owners across borders.

But even if you don’t have a dog, your opinion counts. If a dog park at New Courtland might affect you, we urge you to voice your opinions now before plans are underway.  START SURVEY HERE

The last time East Falls almost had a dog park, tensions exploded when near neighbors felt blindsided. From our vantage point, “We never heard about it!” seems to stop all kinds of progress around here. If we want this dog park to happen, we need to educate the community & get everyone on board as much as possible.

FYI: Community Council has the dog park on this month’s meeting agenda — if you can’t make it to East Falls Presbyterian Church at 7pm on Monday the 9th, email us your questions and we’ll do our best to get answers for a follow-up post.

Thanks to everyone who offered their thoughts & opinions.  Click on a survey image to scroll through them all.  (We’ll update with new data & comments as more responses come in.) 

Fallsers chime in:

“Wish List” Comments
(Replies to the question “What features of other dog parks would you like to see in East Falls Dog Park?”)

Make sure that the fence is at least 6 feet high! Several of the local parks have shorter fences that lots of dogs can jump if they feel like it.” – C.J. T

SCHUYLKILL River Dog Park is a great model. Tasteful fencing and seating area for patrons but budget mostly spent on turf that will be easy to maintain and reduce wear and odor. Indoor/outdoor pavilion would be great for rain.  Minimalistic design it’s not hard to maintain but functionally beautiful.  Water source should be present.  This is so long overdue, Fallsers would be fine with a fenced in area with additional improvements as funds are raised.” – Denise H.

Double gated entry especially since it’s close to train tracks.” – Cathy K.

Donated balls or frisbees, safe containment for doggie poo, water play feature in summer (i.e., donated baby pool), emergency kit available.” – Samantha I.

Tall fences, I have a leaping escape artist.” – Justin E.

An electronic rabbit that rides along the top of the perimeter fence.” – Joe B.

Shade where people can stand.” – Juli S.

Love to see partnerships with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, Philadelphia Water Department (storm water management program), East Falls Tree Tenders.” – Nina C.

General comments
I think the Dog Park committee should reconvene based on these new findings. It’s not fair that the Community Council excluded the community on decision making.” – Denise H.

I don’t see myself being a frequent user of this park due to the distance from the center of the neighborhood.” – Gary C.

Currently use Roxborough Dog Park & likely would continue however I fully support more dog parks in city neighborhoods.” – Stetson R.

In the winter, not having it open in the evening might be considered unless there is adequate lighting, as it gets dark early. And when it gets really cold, visits would be limited I would think. If having dues is the way to go, to help with maintenance, then a membership to join where you show that you have your vaccinations in order is a good idea. Thanks for writing up the survey to get some input.” – Christina K.

There should be some regulation involved. Membership mandatory, members can get in w a key and have to provide documentation of shots, vet visits etc. w membership money can go to park maintenance, upkeep. I know a dog that got very sick from a park, possibly from the water fountain there? So maybe no dog dishes available?” – Kait R.

Hey- happy to assist with planning if needed. I’ve consulted with other dog parks as they have gone from idea to reality. Important = landscaping, I’m not talking “pretty” as much as durable and options for spots for dogs to escape to or hide under or crowd near (think large, hearty, decorative grasses, etc). Large open barren spaces = totally can create overly aroused behavior. Happy to discuss.   Also I may have some agility equipment that could be donated for use at the park.” – Leigh Siegfried, Opportunity Barks (dog training)

Hi, we currently take out dog to the reservoir. There’s no fences, no water, no lights, and you know what? That’s fine. It largely meets our needs. If we could do that, & maybe with a fence, that would be great.” – Emily S.

I work in the construction field and would be willing to volunteer to help build the park!” – Josh P.



    • Steve Fillmore

      Great question! Volunteers? A paid service through dues? Another reason to get everybody in to figure out what’s best! One thing’s for sure, getting the land is the easy part.

  • Holly

    I know this might be a dumb question.. but is there a reason we can’t convert the tennis court at McDevitt field into a dog park? The fence is already in place. It would just be a matter of getting a second small corral area for leashing and unleashing your dog and maybe adding a few benches and turf. I think artifical turf is best, though it’s expensive upfront. Grass would work just fine too.. Who controls that area? Could we bring that plan forward?

    • Carolyn Fillmore

      Yeah that’s a great plan alright! Many people here already kinda use McDevitt informally as a dog park but as for making it official… yeah. Hmmm. Maybe you can make some progress on this? A friend of ours in the old dog park committee approached Tom McNicholas (the center’s director) about this like 2 years ago. He was not thrilled, to say the least. Apparently when a dog owner asks “Can we add a dog park to McDevitt?” the workers there hear “Can you pick up my dog’s poop all day?” or something like that. But that was awhile ago. Perhaps a more organized working group could make more progress. Let us know how it goes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.