Dickinson Square dog run meeting shows neighborhood disapproval, surveys show positive support

On Tuesday evening, Dickinson Square West Civic Association hosted a meeting to present the pros and cons of creating a dog run at Dickinson Square.

Dickinson Square Park

Despite the positive support the project has received from an online survey created months ago, the meeting took a different tone. The presentation of the dog park brought out the vocal non-supporters at the meeting of between 60 and 70 individuals.

Pennsport resident Jordan Roth led the presentation in-favor of a dog run at the park. Roth went through the survey data and the list of concerns presented by the Friends of Dickinson Square and counteracted those arguments.

The list of concerns from Friends of Dickinson Square:

  • not enough volunteers
  • smells
  • noise concerns
  • more dogs, more problems
  • liability to the friends group
  • owners can’t handle their dogs, which can promote aggression
  • the park is too small
  • neighbors won’t support the project

The survey data collected online showed that 163 Dickinson Square West and Pennsport residents are in favor of the project, in comparison to 13 individuals in the boundaries who are against the dog run. Friends of Dickinson Square stated that this is not fully representative of the area, as not every resident knew about the survey or even has access to a computer to complete it. The main concern is the affect a dog run would have on the surrounding residential area. Roth and other proponents of the project stated that the noise and cleanliness would be no different than a normal day in the park based on the number of dog owners who already utilize the space. The creation of this run would create one concentrated area for off-leash dogs that would be maintained by a crew of volunteers. It was also stated that the dog run would have set hours, meaning that it would not be a noise concern to residents too early or too late in the day, as the run will be locked during those hours.

Once Roth’s presentation wrapped up, the civic association opened the floor to those against the dog run. Some residents mentioned how this community space should remain as a “safe haven for children” instead of creating more portions of the park that take away from that usage. Another resident stated that the park “doesn’t need to be intensely used in every place.” While no location has been officially selected for the dog run, it would most likely be placed on the lesser-used portions of the park on the Morris Street side. Eileen Gargano spoke on behalf of Friends of Dickinson Square, with a formal statement of the organization’s disapproval of a dog run for this park. Gargano also stated that she is not against a dog run for Pennsport, just does not approve of one for this location.

Parks and Recreation representatives were also in attendance of the meeting. Parks and Rec has no formal dog policies at the moment and follows the city’s guidelines when it comes to leash laws. That being said, at the moment the parks system has a total of six approved off-leash dog runs throughout the city. In order for a dog run to be approved for the park, Parks and Rec would have the final say in approving or denying the plans. 

If plans for a dog park would be approved, Roth stated that there is currently a total of $26,480 that would be pledged to the project if it moves forward. This includes contributions for individuals and local businesses. With that large amount of money already pledged to the project without any fundraising efforts in place, there is still quite a bit of community support surrounding this dog run.

Due to time constraints, residents in favor of the project were not able to voice their opinions at the meeting. No straw poll was taken, so it is unclear how many individuals in attendance were for or against this project.

22 thoughts on “Dickinson Square dog run meeting shows neighborhood disapproval, surveys show positive support

  • May 18, 2016 at 9:52 am


    • May 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Parking police, parking was only mentioned once at this meeting. Ha, ha. Actually, a mature in control meeting. Thank you, Jordan for the presentation.

      • May 18, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        The first paragraph of this article is a bit misleading. This meeting was to present the initial proposal and the reasons Friends of the Square would be opposed. A total attendance was between 60-70 people. Opposers were invited and expected to be at this meeting. I feel the tone of this article is misleading.

        • May 18, 2016 at 9:28 pm

          Hi Pip, the meeting ended up taking the more negative tone since the people in favor of it didn’t have time to speak at the end. I apologize if this seems at all misleading, but I simply wrote about the proceedings, including the positive feedback received in the surveys and the neighborhood support for funding. Without a straw poll it is hard to get a full read of how many are in-favor or against. It’s clear that much of the neighborhood wants this, but the opinions of those against it were highlighted the most at the meeting.

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    This is about as false as can be. The vast majority of people who attended were for the dog run. Only 3 people spoke in opposition. Even a past president of Friends of Dickinson Sq. Park spoke in favor of it. 90% of the people raised their hand to volunteer. This writer was obviously not present at the meeting.

    • May 18, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      There was no straw poll at the meeting and since the people in-favor of the run did not have the designated time to speak, the meeting’s tone highlighted mostly the negative opinions from residents. I was in fact in attendance and I apologize if you don’t feel that this is an accurate representation of the proceedings.

      • May 19, 2016 at 8:11 am

        Don’t listen to this unjust criticism. I think people are expecting you to be a shill for the local civic, like Bill/SPR is for EPX. Keep doing what you do…

      • May 19, 2016 at 11:22 am

        Hi Taylor,

        Personally, I think the only issue is with this line: “The presentation of the dog park brought out the vocal non-supporters at the meeting of between 60 and 70 individuals”. It makes it seem like 60-70 individuals were against it. Something like; “60-70 individuals attended the presentation. After the proponent of the dog park presented, a handful of the non-supportive attendees voiced their concerns”. The rest of the article was spot on, great work!

      • May 24, 2016 at 4:28 pm

        No there was no straw poll but since you were there how you do you not acknowledge the raising of hands for volunteers which was overwhelming and an indicator of support? Or clarify, make a correction to your statement making it appear that 60-70 ppl there were opposed when that was the estimated ttl participation.

  • May 18, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I was at the meeting yesterday and the objections were just sad. It seems like a group of residents who live on the park do not want a dog run. It is a public park for the community, they don’t own the park. If the community wants a dog run, why is it this handful of people can stop it? Dickinson Square park is on the border of Pennsport and Dickinson Square West. It is the perfect location for a dog run. I do not think the other alternatives are convenient, nor would they allow people from both neighborhoods access to a dog run. As the individuals opposed the dog run, they constantly stated the success the park has had already. The park has been a success and has helped attract people who love the neighborhood and want to make it better. However, it seems like this “friends” group would like to stop the success here.

  • May 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Just to clarify something, there were 60-70 people there, not 60-70 people opposed. Of the 60-70 people there, there was a handful that opposed. There was no vote at the meeting.

  • May 19, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Jordan you did an excellent presentation. BRAVO!
    I just wish the people that were for the dog run (which were most of the people at the meeting) were able to speak. I didn’t like that Ted Savage President of DSW was accused of fixing your presentation or knew any details about it. This guy is one of the friends of DS. There we go again Friends of DS park casting suspicion. Ted didn’t ask friends of DS park for info re: their speech before it was read to the crowd either. The nerve of the person yelling “Shame on you!” to Ted. Again another Freinds of DS park Gas lighting. @ Taylor Did interview anyone on Dickinson Square west , DS park or Jordan before you published this ?

  • May 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    This article is really so biased. Those in favor were given time to speak. Unfortunately, Jordan took up all of that time. Clearly, based on this article and comments, he was not elected to speak on everyone’s behalf, but he took that opportunity. His presentation could have absolutely been shorter and without the “he said, she said,” anonymous website post petty stuff. The whole meeting was really uncomfortable. Besides sort of measuring usage at DSW park, his points did not really support a dog run at DSW park. They only offered reasons for any dog run, in general. And it seemed like almost every person there wanted a dog run. They just don’t want it in DSW park. I initially voted in favor of the dog run at DSW but have come to believe it really is not the best location. It would be nice to be able to have separate areas for large and small dogs (like Schuylkill Banks Park) but it’s not big enough. Moreover, none of the logistics were even prepared or presented, so it was difficult to form a thorough opinion either way. I do think it makes so much more sense to combine your efforts with the person planning the dog runs under 95 (if those are going forward do we really need FOUR dog runs around Pennsport?) or look for options in Jefferson Park or near Sacks. Jefferson is so underutilized and it still offers a great location for both DSW and Pennsport.

    • May 20, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Hi Courtney,

      Sorry you feel that way. I actually was elected to speak on behalf of the committee formed to get a dog run in DSP. My presentation took about 30 minutes and the meeting went from 8pm – 9:30pm. I agree it was a little tense, but those of us who have been working to make this happen knew it would be. This meeting was solely to show Parks and Rec there is an interest as they had said in the meeting, during the annual FoDSP meeting it was brought up and nixed before speaking with the public.

      Jefferson Park and Sacks have been brought up, but the concensus was that it is too far north and at the cusp of DSW and Pennsport. The community wanted something in the middle. If you are interested in helping out, feel free to reach out to me via FB.

      The dog runs “under 95” have their own issues. Water street is quite dangerous, it’s not really under 95 and as a lot of female residents pointed out to me, they don’t feel safe over there since there really isn’t a community. In any event, we welcome people that wish to assist.

    • May 20, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Under 95? But where would half of Pennsport park?

      • May 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        @Parking Police. The under 95 idea should really be called the water street dog run. The idea is to use the grassy areas between the parking under 95 and water street.

  • May 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    The purpose of this meeting was for a PRESENTATION FOR A DOG RUN. To complain about the length of the presentation is so petty. As the Friends had stated they would be at the meeting to present their opposition thus time was allowed for such and others. Due to time limitations those pro were not heard. Let’s just stay on point and no more diversionary tactics would be great.

  • May 20, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Sorry for the confusing statement above. I have been hearing complaints about the length of Jordan’s presentation..

    • May 20, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Pennsport is 10 blocks long. Jefferson Sq. is the beginning area of Pennsport and about 2.5 blocks from Mario Lanza dog run. Pennsport ends at Snyder Ave. and Dickinson Sq. Is in the middle of Pennsport. So it does make logistical sense to me. Plus would serve Dickinson Sq. West also.

  • May 21, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    @ Courtney We only heard people complaining and Eileen Gargano 15 minute statement from the friends of Dickinson Square Park who is president. Just stating facts. If you don’t like the dog run don’t go. You walk 5 or 6 blocks to 95 . Hopefully you don’t get hit by a tire retread off a truck driving down 95 or hit by a car from that parking lot from hell @ Wawa.

  • May 25, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I’m moving to Dickinson square this week! How do I help support the dog park!?!?

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