Horner Park Advisory Council Revisits Dog Park Plans

By Sam Charles | Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Members of the Horner Park Advisory Council, including Vice President Larry Brown, left, revisit plans for a potential dog park that would feature artificial turf. Credit: Sam Charles

There was little movement on the proposed Horner Dog Park at the most recent Horner Park Advisor Council meeting on Nov. 5 at the park’s field house. With 10 members in attendance, a recap of the project’s developments in recent months was given for HPAC members who have been unable to regularly attend recent meetings.

Amidst the rehashing of details, new concerns were also brought of in regard to the dog park’s financial logistics and potential space conflicts with Chicago Public Schools that use the southern portion of the park—where the proposed dog park would be located—that use the area for sports.

“The original intent when we originally started talking about this is [sic] that end of the park isn’t used that much at all,” said HPAC Vice President Larry Brown, who presided over the meeting due to President Peter Schlossman’s absence. “And there are no large scale dog parks in the city, much less the county.

“As this goes down, you’ll have more problems with CPS,” Brown added. “They use this park for their cross country. That will be a bigger issue than any of the joggers that are not congealed into a committee.

Currently, the council’s dog park committee is now working to involve area residents to gauge how the park would be received, according to HPAC member Erica Beutler.

“The major concern that I’m hearing against it is that people are afraid that if there’s a dog park, they’ll no longer be able to use the park in which they are choosing to use it now,” Beutler said.

By law, dogs must be leashed at all times in parks, but Horner Park has an unwritten tradition of allowing the practice. That concern was voiced at the meeting last month.

The HPAC has recently posted a Q&A on its website detailing the next steps the group must take in order for the project to come to fruition.

The proposed fenced dog park, would be 1.89 acres and be covered with a special permeable artificial turf designed for dog use would be sited on the south end of Horner Park, aligned along Irving Park Road. However, Park District guidelines for a new dog park require a one-year usage survey of the area and the District has not allocated any funding for the park’s expected $300,000 cost, meaning the park will likely be entirely funded by private donations.

The next HPAC is scheduled for Dec. 3, but the location has yet to be determined.

The next public meeting on the dog park will be held on November 15th at 7:00 p.m. at the Horner Park field house as part of the 33rd Ward Advisory Council meeting.

Check back to Center Square Journal later this week for a full recap of the meeting.

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  • Steve D

    Take a walk along the path at the South end of the park. Stop and sit under a tree and enjoy the view back towards the North end of the park across the meadow. Chances are no one will pass within 50 feet of you, Horner Park is 55 acres after all. Plenty of room for joggers, base ball players, and dog walkers to share the space. Now imagine an astroturfed fenced in pen concentrated with dogs. Think of the smell and the noise and that ugly astroturf that seems to peel up from the sides and stain at every other dog park in the city and then ask yourself why we would destroy the natural beauty of the park? Now take a walk around the meadow and inspect all of the trash cans. They are always filled primarily with bagged dog droppings. The trash produced by the patrons of the unlicensed food stand on California and those who grill and pick-nick can be found on the ground throughout the park.

    This is a terrible idea and I will make sure that not one penny of my tax dollars is spent to scar an otherwise beautiful and functional park.

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