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Park district, foundation plan Oswego dog park : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Park district, foundation plan Oswego dog park
Three acre facility proposed in Jaycee Park along Douglas Road

by Lyle R. Rolfe

7/24/2014

The Oswegoland Park District and the Oswego Park and Recreation Foundation have plans to develop a three-acre dog park, park district board members were told at their monthly meeting last week.

The dog park, however, may not become a reality for two more years, Chad Feldotto, senior park planner said.

Grant Casleton, the park district's planning and development director, said the agency has been receiving requests for a dog park for at least 15 years.

Dog parks have become increasingly popular in communities across the country in recent years. The fenced parks allow dogs to play and socialize off-leash with other dogs in a controlled environment under the supervision of their owners.

Feldotto said the dog park is planned for development at Jaycee Park located along the west side of Douglas Road between Barnaby Drive in Oswego to the south and Saugatuck Road to the north in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision.

The 7.1-acre park was originally developed in the late 1970s as a community service project of the now defunct Oswegoland Jaycees Club. The Village of Oswego annexed the park several years ago.

Feldotto noted Jaycee Park is well suited for a dog park due to its 27 space parking lot that could accommodate dog owners and three acres of unused land located at the south end of the property.

Feldotto said the portion of the site proposed for the dog park is covered with turf grass that has not been mowed for years because it was not needed for any recreation or other use. There are no native or unusual species of plants here, he added.

The park currently includes a handicapped accessible playground, picnic shelter, sandbox with backhoe digger, a baseball backstop, sitting area with benches, picnic tables and bike rack and an open area for sports practice.

The closest homes to the site are at the southwest corner along Barnaby Drive and at the southeast corner across Barnaby Drive at Douglas Road. Landscaping buffers are proposed for these two locations, he said.

The buffers would include berms, evergreens and shade trees. He noted that the east side of the site is adjacent to Douglas Road where there is a lot of traffic noise.



Separate areas planned
for smaller and larger dogs


Feldotto said they are proposing two separate areas for the dog park which would be divided down the center by Waubonsie Creek. Each area would be fenced in with an entrance for each at the north end of the areas.

A 1.3 acre small-dog area would be on the west side and a two acre large-dog area on the east side.

"The proposed dog park plan would turn this idle piece of land into an engaging area for residents and their dogs to gather and socialize," he added.

Some board members questioned whether they should fence the creek from the two parks. No final decision was made.

Because Waubonsie Creek cuts across the east end of the property a foot bridge is proposed to provide access to the large-dog area, Feldotto said.

"We had a very successful project last year when the Eagle Scouts built a footbridge across the creek in Prairie Point by the Food Pantry gardens. So we're looking at this bridge as a possible Eagle Scout project," he said.

Waubonsie Trail extends through Jaycee Park from the west and extends north to the Saugatuck Road entrance to the park from Boulder Hill, giving patrons access from two directions.

Ken Holmstrom of the Oswego Park and Recreation Foundation said the demand for a dog park inspired foundation members to spearhead the dog park project as their next major fundraiser.

"Charitable contributions to the foundation can help fund the project beyond what tax dollars can support. The foundation is excited to take on a dog park as our next project. We are looking forward to raising all of the funding needed to establish the park," he said.

"With the park board's support, the next step for the foundation will be enlisting the help of two committees made up of foundation members and district residents," Feldotto said. One would be for planning and the other for fundraising.

"The planning committee will work with park district staff members on what amenities should be included such as fencing, shade (areas) and a drinking fountain," Feldotto said.

If the dog park is approved, Feldotto said they would come up with a registration form and a system to be sure that dogs who would be allowed in the park are healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations. The registration forms could be copied from successful dog parks in other communities, he added. (The neighboring Fox Valley Park District has successfully operated a dog park in Lincoln Park on the west side of Aurora for years.)

Once the park features are determined, one of the two committees would be responsible for estimating a cost for the project. The second committee would be in charge of raising funds, according to Feldotto.

Feldotto said this could include soliciting donations from local veterinarians, pet stores and residents and by planning various fundraising events.

Board members discussed the pros and cons of extending water to the park, considering the creek divides the two sites. Board members noted that many dog owners bring water bowls for their pets.

There also was discussion about separating large and small dogs. Some board members felt there is little problem in combining all dogs.

Holmstrom said foundation members believe they will be able to raise the necessary funds for the project because of the many people that favor it.

"I believe it will be a very successful program and a good addition to the park district," he added.

For more information or to help, contact the park district at 630-554-4440 or by email at foundation@oswegolandpd.org.




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