Nov 262012

A final design proposal for the Fred Anderson Park was presented at a community meeting on November 20th. What follows is a brief description to highlight how the proposed dog friendly area compares to other Chicago dog parks, and to point out some interesting design features.

Here’s an overall picture of the proposal:

The site is situated between 16th & 18th St, between Wabash Ave and the alley to the east. Right now, this area is just a vacant field and the small asphalt parking lot to the north:

The park will encompass about 1.1 acres.  Now, Chicago dog ‘friendly’ areas are small, and this park will be no exception.  Frisbee dogs and dogs running free – you will have to go elsewhere.

The proposed small-dog area is an oval about 67’ by 94’, and is surfaced primarily (80%) with concrete.  About 18% of the surface will comprise an ‘artificial grass’ feature, a central raised planting, and a water runnel flowing from the planted area towards the center of the dog park.

The proposed large-dog area includes an entry space ~20’ wide by 70’ long and a larger ‘fetch’ area running north-south that is ~35’ wide by 226’ long. This fetch area will include two raised plantings (see the cross-section diagram, below), a strip of artificial grass and a water runnel flowing through it.

Overall, the small-dog area will comprise ~5200 sq ft (0.12 acre).

The large-dog area will comprise ~13700 sq ft (0.32 acre).

For comparison, Grant Bark Park is ~18000 sq ft (0.4 acre), and the average size of a Chicago DFA is ~0.18 acre.  The Fred Anderson Dog Park now proposed occupies only  about 45% of the ~1.1 acre site.  This is less than the original design proposal presented two years ago, but is certainly an improvement over the revision that was presented last year.

However, it’s instructive to compare the 35’ x 226’ size of the ‘fetch’ area in the proposed design to what exists at Grant Bark Park – for perspective, it’s about the same size as just the gravel area of Grant Bark Park:

And, as designed, there’s no escaping that the dog park surface will be largely concrete, hard, and somewhat reminiscent of the Mary Bartelme Park DFA:

Thus, the proposed Fred Anderson Park dog ‘friendly’ area will be ~three quarters concrete, with only one-quarter of the area as artificial grass or elevated planted features.

There will be one double-gated entrance to the small-dog DFA. The large-dog DFA will have two double-gated entrances on opposite sides, one of which will provide access from the alleyway to the east.

There are some nice features to the design –

  • An overlook – the center of the park will be elevated to create an ‘overlook’ over the dog friendly area. This might be a site for future sculpture [a statue dedicated to jazz legend Fred Anderson has been discussed], and should provide a space for informational graphics to bring the dog-owning and non-dog-owning communities together.
  • Dog water fountains – there will be at least three different water fountains with dog-bowls and hose connections (for dog water play and maintenance).
  • Equipment gates – an access gate from the east side of the park will allow access for large equipment, and there will be an access gate between the large- and small-dog areas.
  • Surrounding path – a 7.5’ wide perimeter path will surround the dog-friendly area and connect the various parts of the park together.
  • Shade structures – there will be shade sails installed around the dog park to provide protection from the sun and from the weather.  South Loop Dog PAC has suggested a shade sail over the stage area, as well, in order to provide protection for performers and to reflect its use elsewhere in the park.
  • Performance area – there will be an ~1000 sq ft performance stage anchoring a ~4500 sq ft  ‘performance area’ at the northwest corner of the park. There will be seating and, we hope (per comments made at the community meeting!), some kind of performance lighting provided.
  • Water features – the water feature seems particularly novel, as park users will press a switch to turn the flow of water on and off. Water will flow through a ‘concrete runnel a few inches deep with small stones and boulders embedded’.

Overall, it seems like an exciting plan!  We are particularly interested in what you think about this proposal, and we welcome your comments below or by email. We expect to continue discussion with the Chicago Park District about this park, and will be sure to communicate your comments and concerns to them.

Cross section of the park, illustrating elevation changes:

 Posted by on November 26, 2012

  2 Responses to “Some perspective on the Fred Anderson Park Dog Friendly Area design”

  1. […] we are privileged to be able share the latest with you.  The overall design is very similar to what we’ve presented previously. But as they say, the devil is in the details!  Here are some […]

  2. I’m concerned about the amount of concrete. Who thinks a concrete plaza is a place for dogs. That’s just nuts.

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