Removal of Dog Run Has Some Oak Park Residents Upset reports Dog Training Tips Illinois
Officials say new artificial turf field has more year-round capability
The Dog Park Plus is open on weekends for dogs at the 415 Lake St., and will be closed permanently August 4 as part of a $22.8 million renovation of the facility, which includes building an expanded indoor ice rink and improvements to a current swimming pool.
The sled hill at the Ridgeland field will be wiped out as well, while the smaller enclosed dog park at the site will be closed on March 18 for the project. The enclosed park will then reopen near the original site the following year.
According to officials, the closing will allow installation of a synthetic turf field, which is part of the approved project which was signed in February.
One Oak Park family has made an online petition which asks for the park board to reconsider removing the hill. Over 500 individuals signed the petition thus far. Maggie Testore stated that her family was spurred to creat the petition last week, and stated that the hill was “tradition” for many families in the Oak Park area.
"We love the sled hill, our kids love the sled hill," she said. "My 12-year-old said 'I'd like my kids to have the option of the sled hill.'"
Still, it's unlikely the board is going to reconsider the planned changes, said park board President Christine Graves this week.
"I understand that people are concerned and I appreciate that they enjoy our parks so much, but there isn't anything that can really be done at this point," Graves said. "The contracts are already signed."
Jan Arnold, The Park District of Oak Park's director, stated that the installment of the turf field has been a goal for quite some time in the district, as the turf allows for more play time than traditional fields.
Arnold stated that while she understands the sentimental connection to the hill for some residents, the park is something everyone can use. "There's a lot of needs in the community," Arnold said. "We try to balance that."
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