Daniel Lopez, left, Leo Lopez and Diana Chacon enjoy the new dog-friendly area in McKinley Park along with their two dogs.

McKinley Park Dog Park Presents Soft (and Fuzzy) Opening

Published February 5, 2020

The dog-friendly area in McKinley Park is now open to pooches and their humans, part of a "soft opening" that precedes some final improvements and a grand opening this spring, said McKinley Dog Park Advisory Council President Carina Trudell. "We're so pleased," she said.

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The council is calling this a soft opening, Trudell said, because a final pavement treatment is still needed for protecting dogs' paws in hot weather. "The asphalt needs to be color-coated, and that can't be done in cold weather," she said.

The dog park will close for two to three weeks in the spring for this work, then the grand opening will be accompanied by new signage and other features, Trudell said. In the meantime, the park is open for use by local residents bringing their canines.

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Rules and Regs

McKinley Park Dog Park Frequently Asked Questions 202001Answers to frequently asked questions explain more about the McKinley Park dog park.Trudell noted that McKinley Park's dog-friendly area follows the Dog Park Rules & Regulations as required by the Chicago Park District. Among other things, the "person bringing any dog into a [Dog Friendly Area] must have a permit and tag issued by a participating veterinarian for each dog," the regulations stated. This includes requirements for immunization and a City of Chicago dog license.

The closest veterinarian for a Dog Friendly Area Permit, according to the Chicago Park District list, is the Brighton Park Animal Hospital at 3779 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, about two blocks away from the McKinley Park dog park.


Trudell said that the hours for the park are still being finalized, but they will likely run from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Dog owners must immediately clean up after their dogs, Trudell said, "otherwise we risk the park being shut down."

A list of frequently asked questions provided by the advisory council provides more details on the park. This document notes that small dogs enjoy their own area, and that the site's water supply will get turned on in warmer months.

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Volunteers Needed

Trudell emphasized that the entire dog park effort is volunteer-driven, and many opportunities are available for dog owners and lovers to help out. For instance, dog park ambassadors serve a volunteer role of representing the McKinley Dog Park to the local community. Send email to mckinleydogpark@gmail.com to get in touch about volunteering and supporting the dog park.

The park's grand opening this spring and upcoming meetings will be announced to the community once they're set up, Trudell said. A planning meeting will take place just before the dog park closes for color-coating the asphalt to "check in on park users and see if they'd like to see any changes or have general suggestions," she said.

Trudell noted that the advisory council received a belated call that the dog park was open. "We were a bit surprised by the opening, considering we didn't have any notice," she said. "We're still scrambling."  


I try to walk around the park every day and it is enjoyable watching dogs running around and enjoying their new park.

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