Jun 132010

I went by GBP yesterday to refill the bag dispenser and noticed some things –

  • The CPD Plumbing Dept has installed a valve on the water hydrant at the center of the park.  I am not a plumber, but from my conversation with Mike the plumber from the CPD my understanding is that this is a 3 ft deep freezeless water source that is designed so that the standpipe drains out when the water source is turned off for winter.  It was not installed for and it’s not designed for our application – watering dogs!   I was assured that it only takes a little pressure on the turnkey to turn off the hydrant, but on Friday, I found that I could not turn off the water source that way at all!  So, we leave the hydrant on, control the water flow with the new valve, and hope for the best!
  • We can add the water timer again, but the only one I found  in the lock box was jammed up with a broken fitting.  I took it home to fix.
  • People are putting poo bags in the sand container.  This is not a good thing, and we should probably move the container up by the gates (since it is a trash can…).   Perhaps it could be converted to be used as a bona fide trash container near the lock box, but I don’t know if CPD staff would clean it out.  We’ll check into this possibility.
  • For some reason, people are taking the combination lock off (‘WOOF’!) and leaving it in the lock box.  What’s up with this?  Who are ‘people‘?  If long term we want to store supplies in the box, like the 1000’s of dog poo bags that we use a year at GBP, it’s going to have to be left securely locked.  This has to become practice, or else IMHO we need to put a keyed lock on the lock box sometime this summer.
  • Both of the main drains were completely plugged by accumulated dog hair!  Yikes!  I found that the best way to get this up was to use a poo bag to scrape it up and then toss it in the trash.  This is a task listed in the ‘Got A Minute‘ flyer,  but clearly people at the park don’t ‘have much time’ for this – we’re going to need to come up with a better way to communicate the need to take care of this on an ongoing basis.

Oct 032009

dogwastedispenserColiseum Park DFA is a mess, and there is poo everywhere.  Today we put up a Dog Waste Bag Dispenser at Coliseum Park – it’s orange, and you can’t miss it.   No more excuses, please. 🙂

The DogPAC has committed to keeping the DFA dog waste bag dispenser full of poo bags.  If you forget yours, please feel free to take one.

And, feel free to point it out to others who might ‘need a bag‘!

If it’s empty, please call us, email, or tweet @sldogpac – one of us will come out to fill it. (No, I’m not going to monitor it every day.)

Sep 082009

This is a brief update about issues at Coliseum Park after discussion with Janis Taylor of the Chicago Park District 9.8.09.

1.  The east side gate.gate_gap

The issues raised here were:

  1. the need to fix the gap that currently allows small dogs to escape the dog run (note the brick in the picture!)
  2. the possibility of installing a double gated entry here to make the park secure.

Janis reports that CPD personnel have taken a look at the gate.

They are most likely going to close off the gate, because it opens onto the children’s playground (which is contrary to current ‘DFA’ policy).

This will leave the park with one double-gated entry at the north end.

2. The depressions around the drains.depressions_around_drain

The issue raised here was that these retain dirty water and allow bacteria and parasites to collect and possibly spread disease.  This issue was initially reported to CPD over two years ago.

Janis reports that CPD personnel think that they “are not that low”.

When pressed, she agreed that CPD policy was not to allow pools of contaminated water at DFAs (as occurs around the drains and at other points in the dog run).  Janis said that she would  look into this again.

3.  The water fountain. water_fountain_decay

The issue raised here is that the water fountain is rusted and decaying, and that there is no doggie water fountain.

Janis suggests that maybe if they can find one lying around, maybe a concrete fountain, they might install it. We have heard that at other Chicago DFA’s ‘replacement’ of a water fountain consisted of installing another used fountain in place of the existing one. This will probably not make anyone happy.

The alternative is for the DogPAC and the user community to purchase a fountain.  CPD will  not cost share on this.  CPD plumbers will have to install it.  A weather resistant outdoor fountain costs on the order of $3000.

Aug 182009

Wow, take a look at the drain installation at the Grant Bark Park:


The drain entrance is above the surrounding asphalt!

Look at the front of that drain – there is an obvious lip that extends above the surface of the surrounding asphalt, allowing water to pool and accumulate debris, bacteria, and parasites.

And it’s even worse at the Coliseum Park DFA:


The drain is surrounded by a depression that holds water!

Is this shoddy work, or what (sure, it could be ‘natural settling of the asphalt’)?

There’s already been a report of someone suspecting that their dog acquired Giardia from nosing around the drain at the Grant Bark Park.  Now, I’ve always heard that rabbit droppings (yum!) were the more serious threat for Giardia, but whatever.

These are defects that shouldn’t be allowed to persist.  Here’s the thing – the issue with the Coliseum Park DFA drains was reported to the Chicago Park District over two years ago (by email, dated 5.1.07).  Nothing has been done since.

So, what do we do?  As far as I can tell, repairing these defects is clearly an obligation of the Chicago Park District under the terms of the agreement that they make with the community groups managing the ‘DFA’s.  See here, ‘Maintenance of Capital Projects’ including ‘sewer repair’ and ‘asphalt replacement’.  Perhaps the solution is simply to keep bringing this to their attention, every week, every month, until it gets done?

That takes some effort. And it would help if we could log our requests with the CPD, so that everyone could keep track of the status of the issues that have been raised.

Consider this the first entry in that ‘log’ – the Coliseum Park DFA drain defect was raised again with Janis Taylor of the CPD on Friday 8.14.09 (photographs emailed 8.17.09).  She was notified of the Bark Park drain defect by email, 8.18.09.