Every dog has his day, and Des Plaines is no different. City officials and residents met in city council chambers to discuss options for a new dog park on Wednesday. If approved by city council, Des Plaines’ four-legged residents will soon run, jump and rollover in a space designed with the canine in mind.
Mayor Martin Moylan said residents have asked him when the city would build a dog park, and the city is currently home to more than 4,000 dog owners. The Des Plaines Park District officially opened parks to dogs on Aug. 1.
Moylan said an ad hoc committee to discuss the dog park proposal would be formed and invited to a meeting with an alderman liaison in the next few weeks.
“As mayor, I’m really excited because this is one exciting issue that I want to work on to see complete,” Moylan said.
One of the proposed dog park locales at Lee Street and Prospect Avenue was the site of a planned fire station the city purchased 10 years ago. In November 2011 city council approved refinancing interest on some tax increment financing, or TIF, bonds. Alderman Matt Bogusz, finance committee chairman, said the changes would save the city approximately $500,000.
Kirsten and Peter Von Busch attended the dog park meeting to find out how their one-and-a-half year old Victorian bulldog, Zuzu, would be able to enjoy the new doggie play area. Kirsten Von Busch said while it was nice that the park district recently opened up the parks to dogs, she liked the idea of a separate area for dogs only. She said they like to take Zuzu to lots of places around Des Plaines.
“But sometimes dogs make other people nervous," Kirsten Von Busch said. "It’s nice the dogs can be allowed in regular parks, but this is a space just for dogs and dog owners where it’s not conflicting with other park-goers.”
Wayne Serbin, a Des Plaines resident that attends many public meetings, said now was not the right time to build a dog park.
“Right now I think it’s the wrong time to do this,” Serbin said. “We are in tough times; we should wait until times get better for a dog park.”
Sometimes we have to put off things that are less important, Serbin said.
“Tax revenues keep the city financially afloat, and a dog park can wait until times are better, if they get better,” Serbin said.
Tim Oakley, director of public works and engineering, said the three proposed locations were:
1. The northernmost site at the intersection of Central Road and the Canadian National railroad tracks, located about midway between Wolf and Des Plaines River roads. Approximately 1.8 acres, 300 feet wide by 270 feet long. Approximate cost, $200,000.
2. Southernmost location at Lee Street and Prospect Avenue, most centrally-located. Approximately 2.7 acres, 200 feet wide by 520 feet long. Approximate cost, $300,000.
3. Property for sale by the state of Illinois, east of Des Plaines River Road and abutting Willow Creek at 477 S. Des Plaines River Road. Approximately .8 acre. Approximate cost, $350,000.