DALLAS — Families in the Floral Farms neighborhood in southern Dallas held a special celebration with a block party on Monday.
Neighbors and supporters gathered to recognize the anniversary of the removal of "Shingle Mountain."
“We don’t smell the pollution that we used to smell out there,” Marsha Jackson said, as she stood outside her home on Choate Drive.
Neighbors describe the anniversary as bittersweet. It’s been 365 days since a massive pile of recycled shingles towered over Jackson’s home and the homes of other neighbors along Choate Drive.
“We thought it would never happen. But it did happen," said Jackson.
The anniversary of Shingle Mountain’s removal came after years of neighbors’ complaints to the City of Dallas, months of litigation, and after Dallas received unpopular national attention over environmental justice issues.
“With Shingle Mountain, Floral Farms had a target on its back for a long time,” said Evelyn Mayo, an urban research fellow at Paul Quinn College.
Mayo and others have been looking into disproportionate air pollution communities in southern Dallas face, compared to northern Dallas.
“In some ways, Shingle Mountain exposed the vulnerability of Floral Farms, and since then, the community had fought rock crushers, illegal trucking operations, you name it,” said Mayo.
Though Shingle Mountain’s removal is a positive step, neighbors said a lot of work remains.
Site remediation is among the challenges. Jackson said water is ponding on the property where the mound of debris once stood. That’s causing other concerns.
“It’s really scary, because it has the lead in there. That lead runs off into the creek, and it runs on our property. So, that’s still scary. You see the horses, you can see the sheep out there,” said Jackson.
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The neighbors in Floral Farms remain optimistic a community park can one day be built on the site formerly known as Shingle Mountain. They said it could help the community heal.
The only challenge, according to supporters, is ultimate buy-in from the city.
“Nobody deserves to go through what we are going through down here,” said Jackson.