The Texas Horse Park Hasn't Been Built, And Thieves Are Already Plundering It

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There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the Texas Horse Park, one of the many baubles approved by voters 15 years ago as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, wasn't very well conceived. If the unwillingness of donors to chip in private funds wasn't proof that a fancy equestrian center in the wilds of southern Dallas wasn't a good idea, then maybe the constantly scaled-back vision, or the fact that the city wound up contracting with an accused horse abuser to run the place, should have given pause.

The same could be said for the tens of thousands of dollars of equipment that's been damaged or gone missing since construction began last summer.

According to Dallas police reports, thieves made at least three visits to 811 Pemberton Hill road last month and stole more than $15,000 worth of equipment from the nonprofit that will oversee operation of the horse park and its contractors.

See also: Dallas Entrusted its $11 Million Horse Park to a Man Accused of Mistreating Horses

The first visit took place on December 10 when burglars broke into a storage building, destroying its $4,000 metal door and making off with a pair of large compactors ($4,000), two concrete vibrators ($1,200) and about $900 of additional items belonging to Miller Sierra Contractors.

On December 21, the thieves targeted a John Deere mini-excavator, a model that fetches between $20,000 to $40,000 used, according to online ads. They damaged the machine but were unable to get it off the property.

Police were again called to the horse park site on January 4. Some time after December 20, officers were told, thieves stole an $8,500 hay rake and $500 trailer hitch and nearly absconded with a $40,000 John Deere hay cutter.

"The suspect drove it into a tree and wasn't able to remove it from the property," a DPD spokeswoman said.

No word yet from the city on what's being done to address the break-ins. A Friend of Unfair Park who has visited the site recently describes the construction site as "porous," partially enclosed by an aging barbed wire fence with tools and equipment stored in shipping containers.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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26 comments
gorgon
gorgon

The thefts were from the city contractor building the THP not the non-profit.

Lorlee
Lorlee

As someone familiar with the $246M original boondoggle, I don't recall that a horse park was part of the deal.  Any subsequent bond program funds were dependent on the private folks raising the money.  While voters are ultimately to blame for most things -- I think we shouldn't be blamed for this mess. 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Using a concrete vibator has got to hurt.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Want ND horse owners to patronize it, build a gun range first.

pak152
pak152

this is why South Dallas can't have nice things

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Dammit, our DISD-to-prison pipeline is now in such sorry shape our criminals can't figure out how to steer around a tree. That's just embarrassing.

NewsDog
NewsDog

If you build it they will come... and steal from it.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

!. I think that a big part of the problem is the lack of security. I've seen plenty of construction projects that put up more security than that in more heavily traveled areas. The isolation of this project demands something more than what they are providing.

2. As to whether or not North Dallas horse owners will use it, I doubt it. It's not anything racist. It's the fact that there are plenty of other horse facilities in northern Dallas and southern Collin counties to board their horses at. Why would they want to drive all the way to southern Dallas county? It is much easier for them to get to the facilities close to home.

duanewmurphy
duanewmurphy

Say it ain't so, someone would steal something in south dallas. ? Blasphemy I say 

tbarker1
tbarker1

Thnx for the posting. Several of the Save Pemberton's Big Spring volunteers had heard about the theft and reviewed the reports.


Some residents and police officers, we all know, had fully expected this type of theft with more to come as more vehicles and equipment appear.


I spoke to City Staff on Friday since a planned program to deal with this corridor has been in the works for months.  Any stepped up enforcement or addressing the issue will likely be a slow rollout as funding is just now forthcoming.  Trinity Trust posted an article about planning just this past week.


I agree that cameras (see Dingo) are a good product to use.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Long-time African-American horseman Robert Pitre, subject of my next column in The Print Product,  told me he doesn't believe North Dallas horse-owners will ever board their horses in the city-owned horse park in Southern Dallas because, "They won't want to leave them down there with all those black horses."

gorgon
gorgon

@Lorlee You are correct the THP was not part of the bond, neither was TRAC (Audubon center) but as we know from the lawsuit we brought about use of bond funds for listed purposes on a bond issue, the city can spend the money on any thing they want which is why the voters should never vote for city bonds, because there are no strings attached to the money we provide, they can do as they please

pak152
pak152

@JimSXor could it be because they already have facilities in North Dallas? talk about a racist comment. oh wait minorities are never racist

tbarker1
tbarker1

@JimSX I remember discussing that fact with you in late April of 2013. I wonder how many of the disgruntled local residents who had been served by Cowboy Up and Rhadames Solano's soccer / running program will want to take revenge on the City?


Ted

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

@oakclifftownie @pak152 Looks to me like the enterprising folks of southern Dallas have found a way for the horse park to support the local economy.  Just keep it stocked with construction and building supplies and call it a success.

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