Soon residents of Oak Forest, the surrounding area and their furry, four-legged friends are going to have a new place to play. After months of work by the Cook County Forest Preserve District and the Bark for a Park Committee, opening day of the dog friendly park at Bremen Grove is finally near.
Although an official opening date hasn't been finalized, Cook County Forest Preserve spokesperson Karen Vaughan said the park should open in mid-November.
Vaughan said that the dog park isn't something that the Forest Preserve District would generally take on, but after hearing from residents in the area, it made sense to look into developing a dog park in the South Suburbs.
“During the process of developing the Oak Forest Heritage Master Plan, which is next to the health center campus, we heard from a lot of residents who wanted to see a dog park in the Southland,” she said. “After looking at it, we determined that site wasn't the appropriate place, but we did agree we would work with them and look at some other sites, so that's how this particular site was chosen.”
She added that the site will be based off of a similar dog park in Des Plaines, which currently has 750 users. Vaughan said that the Des Plaines park, just like the future Bremen Grove park, is a permit-use only area.
Previously, at a Bark For Your Park committee meeting members were told that 250 permits will be issued for the park. However, the park district has since revised that statement, noting that they will meet the demand of all interested parties. Applications are currently being accepted and are available through the forest preserve district's website.
On the Forest Preserve District's website, permits are listed at $50 per dog for Cook County residents, while out of county residents will pay $100 per dog. The permit is good from Oct. 12, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013. The district is currenly accepting checks made payable to the Cook County Forest Preserve District, or Visa or Mastercard.
All dog owners requesting a permit must also submit a veterinarian’s health report on for each dog on the application.
As for the working relationship between the committee and the Forest Preserve District, Vaughan said that it's been a driving force for getting the dog park completed. Money won by the group during a PetSafe contest will not be used for the park, however $11,000 in funds raised by the group will be used for amenities within the park.
“I think from our perspective, having an active, engaged group of citizens and residents who wanted something like this, was key in determining that we could do it there,” she said. “We couldn't have done it without them.”