Residents rally for Roxborough dog park

 This lot on Mitchell Street in Roxborough has been vacant for nearly 30 years. (Kayla Cook and Sean Smith of Philadelphia Neighborhoods/for NewsWorks)

This lot on Mitchell Street in Roxborough has been vacant for nearly 30 years. (Kayla Cook and Sean Smith of Philadelphia Neighborhoods/for NewsWorks)

On the 4100 block of Mitchell Street sits a city owned lot that has been dormant for nearly 30 years. Sarah Koenig has lived in the Roxborough neighborhood for 20 of those years and wants the vacant lot to now be put to use for the community.

Koenig has two dogs and has used the empty fenced in lot to allow her dogs to run and play, and said that many other dog owners in the neighborhood do the same. She is now spearheading an effort to officially turn the vacant city lot into a permanent community dog park.

“Having a dog park will enable responsible dog owners to allow their dogs to run free, play and socialize with other dogs.”

She also stated that the community is truly in need of a local dog park. She says that although there is a dog park at Pretzel Park in Manayunk, just under a mile walk from the newly proposed park site, many residents don’t like to go there because they say it’s overcrowded. She adds that the number of dogs and their owners living in the Mitchell Street area also constitutes the need for the park.

Koenig is serving as president for the aptly named and newly formed group Roxborough Dog Park. The group met with a member of Fourth District City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.’s staff about the idea and it was suggested that the residents form a 501(c)3 organization in order to better organize the project and to be able to better raise funds.

Carlos Nunez is also a resident of the neighborhood and is serving as vice president for the group. He said that the newly formed group already has about 40 members and many are lending their time to the project.

He said that a lawyer in the neighborhood is volunteering his time and expertise to help out with the legal aspects of forming a 501(c)3 organization. A local architecture group is also lending a hand by volunteering their time by rendering a design for the park.

Nunez said that once the organization becomes official and money is raised, they can then formally petition the city for establishing the park. At that point, the group will have six months to develop the lot into the Roxborough Dog Park.

The Roxborough Dog Park group will be holding their next meeting on June 24 at 8 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. 

Sean Smith and Kayla Cook are students at Temple University. This piece was produced for Philadelphia Neighborhoods in collaboration with WHYY’s NewsWorks.

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