It's nearly time to bust out the leashes and head to the new dog park in Oak Forest, near 160th and Oak Park Avenue. But, there's still a few weeks of planning and construction that must be completed before the park opens, in late September or October.
While work—including pouring a concrete patio area and installing fencing—is still ongoing, Alderman Laura Clemons led a Bark for Your Park committee meeting on Aug. 27, to outline the progress on the park.
“We've been surveying, the fence is just about up, they've split it, they've framed out the concrete patio and they've laid the cement for the posts for the gated in-and-out,” Clemons said.
More than 30 people attended the meeting, which also featured a fluid flow of suggestions from residents, for features and questions including sponsored benches or bricks, to how many dogs a person can bring in at one time, to items that could be stored at the park.
The park's seven acres will be divided into two separate areas: one for large dogs and one for smaller dogs.
“It will be split and it will be split for small and large [dogs],” Clemons said. “The gate in-and-out system is really well thought-out. You walk in, there's the holding section, you go to the right for the small and to the left for the large and then there's a separate out gate, so there's not a big mish-mosh.”
She added that the park will have a limit of 250 on the number of permits issued for the park. Clemons said that a potential fee for the permit is still up in the air and that it will not be limited to Oak Forest residents.
The park will be built at Bremen Grove, Cook County Forest Preserve land. Commitee members will manage the park.
“We will be the stewards of the project so to speak,” she said. “It will be their property, their land and we'll be working in partnership with them to manage it.”
She also added that the cost of the park will not increase any tax levies to residents and that the management of the park will be run through fundraising, along with the $25,000 prize from the Bark for Your Park contest.
The park is set to open in late September or early October; no exact date has been set.