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Dogs rejoiced in 2019 when ground was broken for a dog park in McKinley Park, at least judging by the look on the faces of bulldogs Benny and Luna.--Greater Southwest News-Herald file photo

Dogs rejoiced in 2019 when ground was broken for a dog park in McKinley Park, at least judging by the look on the faces of bulldogs Benny and Luna.

--Greater Southwest News-Herald file photo

Push for dog digs in West Lawn

Quinn, pet lovers aim for ‘dog park’ at West Lawn Park

By Tim Hadac

A part of Chicago often called “dog crazy” by canine friends and foes alike

appears to be on its way to getting a dog park at West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St.

Leading the charge is 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, who told the Greater Southwest News-Herald he is merely responding to grassroots enthusiasm for the idea.

“A number of people in West Lawn have raised the idea of a dog park, and what I’m finding is the more people I speak with, the more overwhelmingly positive the response is,” he said.

Quinn is currently in the opening stages of convincing the Chicago Park District to construct a dog park in a little-used section of the park. Critics have said the process is laden with unreasonable obstacles like no fewer than eight site visits to the proposed patch of ground, a community petition drive and a requirement that the local community raise $100,000 to pay for the project upfront.

Quinn has removed the financial hurdle by announcing that he will dedicate $100,000 of his annual aldermanic “menu” funds to the project.

He also has gone door-to-door in the community, gathering far more signatures than required by the Park District.

Quinn is making an equivalent effort in the west end of the ward, at Wentworth Park.

Should dog park idea succeed at West Lawn Park—with a goal of ribbon cutting in 2022—it would be only the second dog park on the Southwest Side. McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing, was the first. In opened in early 2020 after several years of organizing by the McKinley Dog Park Advisory Council.

Quinn pointed to that reality as what he has railed against for years, noting that there are 30 dog parks in the city, and only one on the Southwest Side.

The Park District’s website describes its “dog friendly areas” as “designated sections within Chicago parks or beaches, where dogs are allowed to run and play off-leash, the only areas in the city where this is allowed. Until the creation of these areas, dogs were only allowed in the city’s parks on a leash. Many of these sites provide features such as doggie drinking fountains, separate areas for shy dogs, dog owner bulletin boards, trash receptacles and extra doggie bags.”

The owner or other responsible person bringing any dog into a dog friendly area must have a permit and tag issued by a participating veterinarian for each dog.

“A dog park makes sense, not just for dog owners, but everyone,” said Quinn, whose family owns Buster, an 8-year-old bulldog. “Realtors listing homes for sale would love to describe the home as being near a dog park. West Lawn already has good schools, parks and more. This would be an added amenity” that could have a healthy impact on property values.

People who want to sign the petition for a dog park in West Lawn (one signature per household is allowed) are encouraged to call Quinn’s office at (773) 581-8000.

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