South Dallas Neighborhood Still Feels Targeted after Removal of Shingle Mountain

(Juan Figueroa / Staff photographer)

People living in the South Dallas neighborhood of Floral Farms begged Code Enforcement for years to help them in their fight against the now-notorious Shingle Mountain. Now, less than a year after the city finally hauled off the six-story high pile of shingles, the neighborhood feels like those same Code Enforcement officers are targeting them.  

Floral Farms got its name almost 100 years ago due to the greenhouses and nurseries that operate there. Since then, much of the land around the neighborhood has become industrialized, and some residents feel as if the city is trying to push them out. “It seems to me they are targeting the residents instead of the illegal land use and businesses around our property,” says resident Genaro Viniegra. Calls to Code Enforcement regarding the storage of fiberglass swimming pools or concern about heavy machinery driving in a “no trucks” zone. At the same time, residents have begun receiving citations for things like improper garbage can placement.  

One of the loudest voices in the fight against Shingle Mountain, Marsha Jackson, received a notice about a loose dog that had damaged flowers. However, it was not Jackson’s dog. “We are supposed to be working together to clean up some of these issues. We’ve been harmed down here. But you come around messing with us? Just like that note on my door. You all got my telephone number. Call me. That dog is everywhere. That’s the neighborhood dog. I have a dog. My dog is in the house,” Jackson said. 

Resident Jonathan Soukup owns one of the area’s nearly century-old nurseries and has concerns about run-off from the raising and clearing of nearby land. “We started asking questions in March. ‘Why is all this gravel being stored over here? What’s going on over here? Basically, we get no response,” Soukup said. “Our greenhouses have been here 90 something years. I can’t just pick up my greenhouses and raise my grade 3 or 4 feet with everyone else.” 

When the City of Dallas adopted a new approach to Code Enforcement in April, the citizens of South Dallas were hopeful that it would mean more help for them. Instead, it has left them feeling frustrated. Neighborhood activist Evelyn Mayo explained, “This is just adding insult to injury for a neighborhood that went through every correct procedure for months, and shingle mountain still happened.” 

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