McKinley Dog Park Advisory Council members and officers gather at their quarterly meeting on June 17 at One City Tap.

McKinley Park Dog-Friendly Area on Cusp of Construction

Published July 25, 2019

The long-awaited dog park in Chicago's McKinley Park will soon begin construction, and the McKinley Dog Park Advisory Council is getting ready to celebrate and transition to active management of this new community space, said council President Carina Trudell. With construction set to begin in August, the park should be ready for pooches this fall, she said.

"Until recent months our tone was hopeful because we just weren't sure when this would be complete," Trudell said. "Now it's gone from hopeful to confident and prepared."

The McKinley Dog Park Advisory Council, a group officially sanctioned by the Chicago Park District, has been working for years to build a local dog-friendly area. Trudell reports that the approved construction drawings are now out for bid, with an estimate that a contractor will be on-board by August.

The dog park will be sited in the southwest corner of McKinley Park, across the sidewalk west of the fenced-in outdoor pool area, and include a water source and separate areas for large and small dogs. It is one of the very first dog parks to be built on the South Side of Chicago.

Volunteers Needed

Recruiting volunteers and informing the public will be critical for the project's success, Trudell said. "Many users think Chicago Park District employees clean up, and they don't hold themselves or others accountable for picking up after their pets. Additional signage will play a role in informing park users that it is entirely volunteer-driven."

McKinley Park Dog Park plan map forwebA prospective plan for the dog park illustrates its location in the southwest corner of McKinley Park.Council Treasurer Adriana Perez said that the volunteer response has been great so far, with residents reaching out to find out how they can help. "We've added new members to our team who are as passionate about bringing a dog park to our community as we are," she said.

"Taking care of the dog park will be a team effort, and we are ready for this next step," Perez said.

The most recent quarterly dog park meeting on June 17, 2019, featured a changing of the guard, with Trudell taking over the top leadership position from Angie Robertson, who founded the dog park effort, but who is now moving out of the McKinley Park neighborhood area.

In addition to Perez serving as treasurer, new officers voted in at the meeting include On-Site Manager Stacy Diaz, Assistant On-Site Manager Miguel Robles, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator Celia Law and Dog Park Ambassadors Jim Hankes and Alma Sanchez.

Dog Park Enhancements

Desired improvements for the park following construction include additional signage, a storage chest, an all-weather bulletin board and a power washer, Trudell said. "We hope to have them donated by nearby businesses," she said.

As in past years, the McKinley Dog Park Advisory Council will again host its Beers & Barks annual fund-raiser, slated for November 9. Trudell said a ground-breaking ceremony is also in the works for the dog park, with a tentative date of August 11. The next quarterly council meeting will likely be September 16, she said.

"Now we have to transition from an organization that worked toward a dog park to one that maintains a successful dog park," Trudell said. "This is a total win for the community, and I truly believe it will build some new relationships among neighbors."

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