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Horner Park's Dog Friendly Area Has A Design, Still Short On Funds

By Patty Wetli | June 22, 2017 5:36am | Updated on June 23, 2017 10:35am
 The Horner Park Dog Friendly Area will cost roughly $250,000, with only half of that in the bank to date.
The Horner Park Dog Friendly Area will cost roughly $250,000, with only half of that in the bank to date.
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IRVING PARK — Horner Park's Dog Friendly Area is a step closer to reality with a design now under review by the Chicago Park District.

The preliminary rendering, subject to tweaks, shows a fenced-in, 3/4-acre section with areas for small and large dogs, a doggie drinking fountain and water feature, and contoured canine "turf" — a lead-free artificial turf designed for dogs that's as close to grass without being grass (prohibited by the Park District in dog parks).

Existing trees will be incorporated into the dog-friendly area, which is intended to look like a nature area that just happens to be for dogs, according to Erica Beutler, who's been spearheading the dog park initiative for the past five years.

But there's still one major hurdle for supporters to clear before construction gets the go-ahead: the matter of raising upward of $250,000 — a rough estimate provided by the park district.

To date, the dog-friendly area committee has banked slightly more than $115,000 toward that goal, including contributions from Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th). Once costs are attached to elements of the design, created for free by Christy Webber Landscapes, the final price tag could top $300,000.

Ongoing fundraising campaigns include the annual "Dogs of Horner Park" calendar, which is now accepting submissions.

The committee also plans to sell engraved pavers and offer sponsorships of items such as benches and a water fountain, according to the group's most recent newsletter.

"However, what we really need is a large donation from a private or corporate sponsor," the committee said.

Once completed, the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area would become the biggest "grass" dog park in the city, a place where dogs can roam freely, and legally, off leash.

Dogs would still be welcome throughout Horner Park, but the dog friendly area aims to limit conflicts with other park users, including leashed dogs.

Donations can be made online via the Horner Park Advisory Council (click here, choose "dog park" from drop down menu).

A concept drawing of the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area, planned for the southwest corner of the park, near California Avenue and Irving Park Road. [Christy Webber Landscapes]