HP Could be Impacted by Dallas Horse-Drawn Carriage Ban

The town of Highland Park will evaluate the town’s horse-drawn carriage operations after the Dallas City Council decides whether the city will ban horse-drawn carriages in April.

If Dallas bans carriages, it will affect Highland Park vendors as most of them operate or store their equipment and horses in the city of Dallas during the winter holiday season.

“If it does get banned in Dallas, it could have some effect on their ability to operate in and around Highland Park,” Highland Park Director of Public Safety Chuck McGinnis said. “I don’t know what that is yet, but we’ll wait until April.”

McGinnis briefed Town Council members on the topic during their Feb. 20 study session, saying he doesn’t “want to be behind the curve this year.”

The town has four companies that provide horse-drawn carriage services in the town. Out of the four, two of them park their carriages in Dallas then transport into Highland Park, McGinnis said.

“Three Jays, he called me this year and said, ‘Hey, is there anywhere in Highland Park that we can stage our equipment?’ and I said, ‘No, there’s not,'” McGinnis said. “He was having some issues with the Dallas city about leaving his trailers and stuff parked in the Lowe’s parking lot.”

The Partnership to Ban Horse Carriages Worldwide is a movement created by an animal rights group. They’ve had 39 cities listed as target areas where they want to see carriages banned, and Dallas is one of them.

Since 2018, McGinnis says the group has been successful in the banning of carriages in Montreal, Canada, and Chicago, Illinois.

“Apparently there is a proponent of this group that has the ear of the Dallas City Council, and they’re proposing the ban on carriages,” McGinnis said regarding the City Council’s April vote.

The town’s horse-drawn carriage program generated $59,962.10 for the town during the recent holiday season, a $20,601.33 increase from the previous year. This increase came from an increase in rates vendors charge riders, and there was a minor increase in the total number of rides provided.

This money comes from carriage providers being required to pay a franchise fee of 5% of gross sales for commercial use of the Highland Park streets.

“After we hear their decision in April, maybe we meet again in June-ish, and that still gives us five months to solidify a plan for next season,” McGinnis said.

In other news, during the Feb. 20 meeting and study session, the Town Council:

  • Approved a request to extend the construction timeframe for a single-family home being renovated at 3707 Beverly Drive.
  • Recognized the Highland Park Library receiving an Achievement of Excellence in Libraries Award conferred by the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association.
  • Reviewed and discussed a request to extend the construction timeframe for a single-family home being renovated at 3906 Shenandoah Avenue.
  • Reviewed, discussed, and approved an authorization for the town administrator to execute a professional services agreement with HDR Inc.
Mayor Will C. Beecherl (right) poses with Highland Park Library staff members following a recognition for their Achievement of Excellence in Libraries Award. PHOTO: Maria Lawson
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