There’s a battle over dogs in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood.
The area west of Broad Street is full of attractive brick row homes and businesses — but it lacks a dog park. And residents are divided over putting one at 18th and Green streets.
The site of the proposed dog park isn’t much to look at now, just an empty patch of pockmarked pavement.
But Justino Navarro, vice president of the Spring Garden Community Development Corporation, envisions it as a grassy oasis for pooches and their people.
“This is a site that’s been blighted for 30 years. It’s marked with potholes and sinkholes and it’s an eyesore,” Navarro said. “We see this as an opportunity to transform the space into a functional space and also beautify the area.”
Navarro said the dog park — which would be open to dues-paying members — would be another great neighborhood amenity.
As the organization attempts to acquire the lot from the Philadelphia School District, opponents said they are upset about location — between Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church and the private Waring School.
Deacon Furman Pace said he worries about the safety and comfort of older parishioners coming to services surrounded by the smells of the dog park, with a bunch of dogs running around.
“I don’t want to make an issue about the socioeconomic divide, but there does seem to be type of division. And we have several members that are parents of kids that go to the Waring School,” he said. “I don’t want to make it a big issue but our church is predominately a black church.”
Longtime neighborhood resident Ed Gruberg said he too is troubled by the prospect of the park.
“What we have now is the people who are proposing this dog park here — none of them attend this church, none of them have kids going to that school,” he said.
Council President Darrell Clarke, who represents the area, supports the dog park. His office is in communication with affected residents and organizations to address their concerns.