EDGEWATER — Edgewater dogs again have a place to freely romp along the shores of Lake Michigan — and this time they won't have to get soaking wet to use it.
A new fenced-in dog park recently opened in the neighborhood on Bryn Mawr Avenue, between the Lakefront Trail and Lake Shore Drive.
The park was sorely needed after Lake Michigan's rising levels — as much as an additional 4 feet of water — overtook Edgewater's only other official dog area at Foster Beach.
Over the years, makeshift dog parks have been established throughout the neighborhood, like tennis courts or the front lawn at Senn High School (where a pre-famous Keegan-Michael Key used to bring his pet when the actor lived in Edgewater).
After "many requests," 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman announced in January that a new partnership with the Chicago Park District would add a dog park to the ward by summer.
Now farther from the lakeshore, the unnamed dog park trades sand and waves for soft green grass, shade and trees.
The park is simple, consisting only of the fence surrounding it, though is later expected to contain some amenities, like dog waste bags and a garbage can, Osterman's office said. Dogs who use the park first must meet Chicago Park District requirements.
Engaged couple Ashley Fowler and Erica Clayman said they were among dog owners in search of a place where their two dogs, Sadie and Bearhug, could play.
The lack of a designated dog area sent the couple on a grueling hunt for an apartment that included a fenced-in yard, and in the meantime they resorted to using unofficial spaces as dog parks.
There were times the group would go to the dog beach at Montrose Beach, but the situation could quickly become "overwhelming" with the number of dogs and people, the pair said.
Edgewater resident Bearhug gets his first run inside the new dog park. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Sitting in the cool shade of a tree along the Lakefront Path, the women said the new park was a nice respite from their search.
"I love the shade; I could sit here all day," Fowler said. "It feels like a backyard."
Fowler said she hoped more dog parks would pop up in the area — a wish that just may materialize over the next few years. Ally Brisbin, a spokesman for Osterman, said the alderman is working to add more in the future.
With the park now open, Brisbin said she is working on putting together a volunteer leadership committee dedicated to help overseeing and managing the park. Interested residents can email Brisbin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dog park is a fenced-in area between Lake Shore Drive and the Lakefront Trail at Bryn Mawr. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]