Aug 072012

Your South Loop Dog PAC board had a meeting scheduled with Michael Lange (our new Project Manager contact) of the Chicago Park District for yesterday, Monday August 6, 2012.  Unfortunately, Michael decided to cancel the 10:00am meeting at 10:05am when he arrived.

Pam, Elizabeth, Kirsten, and Doug were in attendance and while we were incredibly disappointed Michael cancelled on us at the last minute, in person, after we arrived.  At least we were able to get a few questions in while we stood in the CPD lobby.

What we know from Michael Lange/CPD:  The entire park budget has been increased to $4 million as was announced earlier, but the park is still in the design phase.  They have just been given approval to reengage the architect and are hoping to finish the design by early fall.  If this happens on time they would procure the construction company for spring 2013 construction with a build out period of 90-120 days, but realistically on the later end of that number.  The TIF funds for the park do not expire until the end of 2014 (which was verified by the Alderman’s Parks Liaison Leslie Recht).

What about the dogs?  The whole park is 1 acre total and Michael said the entire park would be dog friendly, a dog friendly area/dfa, BUT he could not confirm how much of the park would be an off-leash area or give us the percentage the dog park would be of the total park.  He commented:

I won’t give a percentage because it’s a spaced that serves the community – whether you have dogs or kids or are by yourself.  

The only other park concern we had time to discuss was the rumors about Acadia having an outdoor dinning space.  Michael had this to say:

We are not designing for any specific vendor in mind.

To date they (Acadia) have no contract with us that I know of. 

Michael said that parks are not designed with specific vendors in mind, but that when the park was built or being built, Acadia could pursue a contract with the CPD for use of the space.  There is a plaza space that will be incorporated into the design, but as of now, it is designed for general use and not being designed for the use of Acadia.

So where are we?  Essentially in the same place.  We’re still waiting for designs to be finalized and are hoping they will be finished and presented to the community in the next couple months.  The CPD is hoping to schedule a community public meeting for early October to sign off on the plans.  In the past year and a half since the revised plan for the park was presented in April 2011 (and was resoundingly rejected by the community) the Chicago Park District has been very tight lipped about the project.  There have been no specifics available to us about further development of the park.  This meeting, unfortunately, did nothing to clarify the CPD’s intentions nor did it reveal how the park design will continue to evolve in their hands.

Want to help?  Leave a comment on this blog, like our facebook page: 16th and Wabash Dog Park and share your support for the new park.  Also, plan on attending the South Loop Dog PAC Annual Member Meeting which will be scheduled for September…we will be discussing the new park!  And as always, we’re always looking for great community members and dog owners to join the South Loop Dog PAC.  More information on membership can be found here.

Thank you for your support!

~Kirsten Agnello-Dean
SL Dog PAC Board Member

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