Efforts towards a dog park in East Falls were stunted last night when EFCC President Barnaby Wittels postponed the scheduled motion for a vote until Dog Park representatives meet with every neighbor.
“If it wasn’t done properly, it will be done properly,” he assured concerned citizens.
Issues voiced ranged from the unfounded — increased foot traffic actually decreases crime, not the other way around — to the quite sensible: would it be safe for such a narrow passage to have people & dogs walking where drivers are pulling in & out of tight spaces?
“We’re not against the idea of a dog park in East Falls,” one citizen clarified, “Just not in that location.”
Residents expressed possessive feelings about this space so close to home that for many of them feels like their backyard:
“Why didn’t anyone care about this piece of land years ago, when it was a dump? We cleaned up the trash, cleared out the abandoned cars and the made ourselves a sanctuary. And now Parks & Rec wants to take it?!”
The Dog Park team stressed that the plans presented were far from final (“More like drawings of an idea”), and welcomed input from the community. They maintained they’ve followed the plan outlined to them by both Parks & Recreation as well as EFCC, and even held a neighborhood meeting two weeks ago. Still, residents feel blindsided.
In addition to requiring Dog Park to reach out directly to each neighbor, the EFCC requested all of Dog Park’s quoted statistics and data for review at next month’s meeting. Wittels indicated lots of research would need to be done, and even if a vote were to happen that night, “East Falls is years away from having a dog park.”
Conversations continue between dog owners and neighbors on this surprisingly emotional issue.