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Dog park plans topic for park district open house : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Dog park plans topic for park district open house
Special event held in Oswego's Jaycee Park for neighbors, interested residents

by Lyle R. Rolfe


The Oswegoland Park District and Oswego Park and Recreation Foundation hosted an open house at Jaycee Park in Oswego last week to allow area residents and neighbors of the park to learn about the park district's plans to locate a dog park there.

Chad Feldotto, senior park planner, said notices of the proposed open house were sent out a month ago to area residents and invitations were sent to adjacent neighbors who could be affected by the park.

The dog park is planned to be developed in 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.

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 dog park would be located in the lower three acre portion of the park which is not being used.

Feldotto said the area is currently covered with turf grass that has not been mowed for years because it was not needed for any recreation or other use.

Feldotto said Jaycee Park is well suited for a dog park because it has a 27-space parking lot that could accommodate dog owners.

He said he was aware that one resident on Barnaby Drive, right next to the park has some questions about the project, so he had prepared answers for her before the open house.

"We toured the site with her and her husband who are dog owners," he said, adding that direct dialogue with the residents is helpful.

During a park board meeting last Thursday, board member Sandy Tartol asked about the neighbor's main concerns.

"Her main concern was how close it would be to her house. We had already decided that the fence would not be on the property line. And we're also going to plant a landscaping buffer between her house and the park," Feldotto said.

He added that she also was concerned that people would use her property to get to the park. The district plans to construct a five-foot-wide sidewalk going directly to the park so people will not have to cross her property, he said.

The district often uses split rail fences to delineate its property lines so the district offered to put this fence along her property line to keep people on the trail.

"With all that, she was happy and is excited about the park," he said.

Board member Danielle Ebersole said she also attended the open house and agreed that landscaping is needed so the neighbor's dog will not see other dogs in the park and bark when he is outside.

"She felt very good that we were willing to work with her and address her concerns as good neighbors," Ebersole said.

"I met with a couple of veterinarians, a dog nutritionist and an obedience training business owner, all from Oswego. And they're very excited about the dog park and us moving forward on it. I think partnerships of these groups will start to emerge as we move forward," Feldotto said.

The original proposal for the dog park was made to the board in June by Feldotto and Ken Holmstrom, a former park board trustee, and now member of the Oswego Park and Recreation Foundation.

Holmstrom said at that time that the demand for a dog park inspired foundation members to spearhead the dog park project as their next major fundraiser.

The dog park, however, may not become a reality for two more years, Feldotto said at the June meeting.

Grant Casleton, park district planning and development director, said the agency has been receiving requests for a dog park for about 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.

"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," Holmstrom said.

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

Feldotto said the next foundation meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9 in the multipurpose room at South Point, 810 Preston Lane, Oswego, where the board meetings are held. The foundation meeting is open to the public.

Feldotto said he and Laura Finch, park district marketing manager, will be working on a marketing plan and start to preparing a budget for the park.

For more information or to help, contact the park district at 630-554-4440 or by email at

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