Chicago is home to 23 Dog Friendly Areas, which are designated fenced-in parks for dogs to play off-leash. This makes Chicago one of American's Most Friendly Dog Cities
! That number sounds great until you look at a map and realize there are none on the South Side! That leaves over half of the city without an accessible, safe, and legal space for dogs to socialize and exercise. We would like to change that.
The McKinley Dog Park Committee is a group of Southwest-Side dog owners & dog lovers who have been dedicated to obtaining an official Chicago Park District approved Dog Friendly Area (DFA) since 2014. Our goal is to create a clean, safe, and legal space for both dogs and people that will further build a sense of community in the neighborhood. We believe there is no better place to do so than McKinley Park.
McKinley Park is a 69 acre park that accommodates a pool, soccer field, basketball and tennis courts, an ice-skating rink, and much more! It is a historical park in that it was the first to be placed among city-dwelling in Chicago. A DFA on the southwest corner will only add to its rich history. McKinley Park offers a variety of programming for adults and children, including sports, art classes, and fishing. Recently, McKinley Park added a farmers' market which it will be expanding for Summer 2017.Where do we stand with the dog park application?
We have been approved by the Chicago Park District to continue our efforts for a DFA on the corner of Pershing and Western with a 15,000 sq. ft. allowance. The next step of the process includes:
How much will this cost?
- Attending community meetings and gathering petition signatures
- Initial fundraising efforts
- Site visits to the proposed DFA area (this is to determine whether the proposed area is "under-utilized")
The Chicago Park District estimates that a park will cost about $150,000, but some communities in Chicago who have recently built Dog Friendly Areas have decided to invest significantly more than this in their dog parks. Before the City will draw up official plans for a dog park, they require a group interested in bringing a dog park to raise $150,000. You may be thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of money for a fence and a bit of gravel." Based on budgets from other Dog Friendly Areas in the city, most of the money will be used to create the paved area that the dogs will run on, seating for the dog owners/families, connecting a water fountain and hose to existing water structures, and a secure and safe six-foot tall fence with a double gate to prevent dogs from escaping when other dogs enter/exit the park.How Can I Help?
Our committee meets the first Monday of the month at 7pm at the McKinley Park Fieldhouse. Our initial spring 2017 goal is to raise $10,000 online to help with initial start-up costs in publicizing the park, obtaining a website, and working to gain momentum to raise more funds. Can you help us by donating here and sharing with a friend? Every little bit goes a long way!
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Visit us at the McKinley Park Farmers' Market
each Sunday, starting June, 2017!
For more information about the Chicago Park District's Rules and Regulations for Dog Parks, visit this official FAQ page
from the Chicago Park District.