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Plan For Gated, Leash-Optional Dog Park Divides Spring Garden Community

(The empty lot that the Spring Garden Civic Association wants to turn into a dog run.  Photo by John McDevitt)

(The empty lot that the Spring Garden Civic Association wants to turn into a dog run. Photo by John McDevitt)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A community organization in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia wants to acquire a vacant lot and turn it into a private dog park.

But the proposal is not being welcomed by everyone.

The lot that has been vacant for nearly three decades sits between a church and a public school along Green Street near 18th, in the Spring Garden neighborhood.

Justino Navarro, vice president of the Spring Garden Civic Association (a community development corporation), says the group is waiting to hear from the school district,  which owns the property, so its plan for an off-leash dog park can go forward.

“We are looking forward to converting a blighted lot into a beautiful greenspace and dog park, and eliminating one of the last remaining lots of blight in the Spring Garden community,” Navarro tells KYW Newsradio.

The proposed dog park will be restricted to Spring Garden residents who would pay an annul fee of $50 to use it.

But resident Ann Northrup is opposed to the private dog park and has other ideas on what the space could be used for.

“Say, a public park. It would be wonderful to have something for the school, of course, if it could be done,” she says.

Northrup says she is concerned about the noise and contamination that a dog run would bring.  She says 300 signatures against the project have been collected from church members, parents of the school’s students, and other residents.