Dog park committee volunteer Jaref Vega stands with proud pooches Rio and Caleb at a spring 2017 dog park event.

Dog-Friendly Area Approved for McKinley Park

Published April 17, 2017

The McKinley Park Dog Park Committee, part of the McKinley Park Advisory Council, has received approval from the Chicago Park District to pursue development of a Dog-Friendly Area (or DFA) in McKinley Park. With a potential site in the southwest corner of the park, the approximately 15,000-square-foot DFA would provide local dog owners with an area for their pooches to exercise and socialize.

"Many families are already using the park to exercise with their dogs," said committee member Angie Robertson. The next big step is fund raising, she said.

 
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Building the DFA requires $150,000 in funding before the Chicago Park District will begin drawing up plans for the dog park. To begin working toward this goal, the committee has started an online crowd-funding campaign at youcaring.com. The group is seeking donations from individuals, as well as corporate sponsorship and in-kind donations for future fundraisers. In addition, the committee will be applying for grants and reaching out to the public at this summer's farmers markets in McKinley Park, Robertson said.

The dog park committee has been working for more than two years to get park district approval for the DFA. The all-volunteer group of dog owners and dog lovers has been reaching out to the community at CAPS meetings and other gatherings, as well as meeting monthly. Any interested community member is welcome to attend a meeting, which takes place at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month at the McKinley Park field house, Robertson said. The next meeting is May 1.

The committee is also holding an official petition drive from noon to 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 22, in McKinley Park. This is an opportunity for members of the public to let the park district know whether they support or oppose bringing a DFA to McKinley Park.

Robertson noted the positive effects of a DFA for both pets and the community. "Having an official dog park is good for dogs, who will get to socialize and exercise, which can help them behave better," she said. "The bigger benefit to the community is another space to socialize and learn about what is going on in the neighborhood and with one another."


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