Apr 102013
 

We’ve gotten an update about the design of Fred Anderson Park from Michael Lange, the project manager at the Chicago Park District.

The design drawings are almost complete, and 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 highlights:

  • The small dog area has been expanded a bit. Good news for all the ‘small fluffies’ in the neighborhood! (a.)
  • There is now one entrance gate, at the southwest corner, shared between the small- and large-dog parks. (b.
  • A bulletin board will be installed at the entrance area. (c.)
  • There will be mounting posts for informational signs at the overlook in the center of the park. South Loop Dog PAC will be assembling material to post there in order to educate kids about dogs and about how to approach them. (d.)
  • An expanded area is now to be covered by dog-friendly artificial grass! This is great news for fetch-driven dogs that might want to play here. The perimeter of the park remains concrete. (e.)
  • There will be an access gate at the east of the park for maintenance, and a second double entry to the dog area. (f.)
  • A space has been designed for a lockbox to store park maintenance materials. (g.)
  • Shade sails will be place throughout the park (light blue triangles in the picture above), including over the performance stage!  There will be benches and tables distributed throughout. (h.)
  • In order to unify the whole area, even the sidewalk along S. Wabash will be integrated as part of the design into the rest of the park. (i.)
  • The water runnels have been reconfigured somewhat; there will be two separate features, one in the small dog area, and one in the large dog area. (j.)

Construction is expected to start by summer, but we don’t really have hard information about the schedule. The park presumably will be completed early next year (2014). It’s going to be a substantial project, involving some remediation of the lot, and the construction of berms and other topological features will take some time.

We have raised one issue with the CPD: According to current plans the dog park will be surrounded by a 6′ high ‘Omega‘ fence.  This is the type of fencing used at the Bartelme Park DFA. We think that a fence this high in a park this small will create the feeling of being in a cage or a prison, and have suggested that the fence height be 5′ – still a substantial barrier. It’s important to us to maintain a relationship between the dog owners in the DFA and the non-dog owning community that may be on the surrounding path or in adjacent park areas.

The board of the South Loop Dog PAC has been in ongoing communication with the CPD about this park since March of 2010. We thank Michael Lange for being willing to listen to us and to incorporate ideas from our dog-friendly perspective. We have to admit – it’s pretty gratifying to see many of our suggestions now implemented. We hope that this experience bodes well for future collaboration between the dog community and the CPD as new Chicago dog parks are designed and built.

As an aside, we’ll also be updating you soon about two other dog friendly area projects in the South Loop that we’re involved with:

  • d’Angelo Park DFA – The story of our efforts to remediate problems introduced from the beginning by the design of this ersatz dog park. 
  • Coliseum Park Dog Run – An update on plans for improvements of the playground and DFA that were recently announced. SLDogPAC will be meeting with CPD representatives next week.  

Finally, we invite any reader to please join South Loop Dog PAC – not just as a contributing ‘member’ but as an involved dog owner. We welcome your ideas, and your thoughts about and support for these projects!

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