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Moving Forward Meeting
Right now, we are lagging further behind in the "Bark for your park" contest and need to cone ogether and mobilize to get t g e vote out and win. I wonder if for the next thirty days our sole focus could be to win the contest. After that we can have a community discussion (s) and prepare for winning next year to put a dog park in another location. There is a meeting Tuesday july 1st at Erins Pavilion in Southwind park to begin tge mobilization process. We need your help, please come out ready to add your energy to this effort.

Tuesday July 1st @ 5:30pm

swimming pond
There is a private dog park in Kalamazoo Michigan with a swimming pond. It is fantastic. The dogs love it. We were there on vacation.

Agility equipment
Some agility equipment to train dogs on would be great for exercise and fun.

Woman protesting this on tv news. Dog feces odor?
Dog feces are natural fertilizers for frosting parks. This woman protests that the dog feces odor would be overwhelming. If she's really concerned, she should encourage clean up efforts, disposal bags, signs to pick up.

But why not late nature take its course. Rain dissolves feces to the soil, and fertilizes tres. The natural umbrella of tree leaves absorb most decomposing odors. These claims are ridiculous and unfounded. Get a grip, it's not a pig farm next door.

Regarding Vaccinations
Please see below given in "In response to “Dog Parks, Good or Bad?”

We have thought about a card system for entry into the dog park to assure vaccinations and to provide added revenue for maintenance. Nothing has been decided yet. That would need to go through the Park Board Trustees.

Before then we need community support for the dog park, funding in place, and a great design. Please consider voting in the Bark for Your Park contest.

Proof that shots are up to date
I think it's important that dogs be current on their shots. How will this be accomplished?

WICS Story about Bark for Your Park
Thanks WICS for helping to get the word out about Bark for Your Park

Photos from the May 10 Washington Park Dog Walk
Our photographer is editing the photos and promised to get them to us soon. We will post them on our website when they are ready. Sorry for the delay. Thanks for your support of our Washington Dog Park!

Update on Funds Received and Time Frame
We started with a fundraising goal of $100,000 with 20% to be held back for maintenance. We hoped to raise funds over a 12-18 month period. We have raised $76,757.61 as of May 1, 2014. Our last fundraising effort was at Noodles & Company, with a corrected amount of about $189.00 coming to the Washington Dog Park Fund at the Springfield Parks Foundation. Every dollar we have received has gone to the Springfield Parks Foundation. We have saved nothing back for fundraising. If the dog park is not built we will return non-cash donations to the donors.

We have concept approval of the Springfield Park District Trustees. For final approval by the Park Board we need:
• Public Support
• Funds in place
• An acceptable design, worthy of our historic Washington Park

We may need to consider a card system entry to the dog park to assure that dogs have proper vaccinations/licenses and to help to contribute to the maintenance cost of the dog park. It was estimated that it would cost about $4000 a year to maintain the dog park. We need this project to be cost neutral to the park district. The park district has an approximate $18,000,000 budget.

Cost and approval
Just wondering what is the time frame for approval and construction for the dog park.

Cost and maintainence amounts needed.

Current funding collected?

Members ONLY
A dog park is a wonderful resource, but can go so terribly wrong, so quickly. Rules and membership should apply. Some suggestions 1) membership only with locked gates! 2) all dogs must show proof of current vaccinations and registration 3) owner is liable for any damage to property or other dogs 4) no children under the age of 5 allowed in the dog park (This is such a HUGE safety concern).

Using a locked/key fob entrance is a great idea to assure members only are allowed inside. This can be paid for by a small membership dues. This,also, is an opportunity to confirm the animal is healthy/vaccinated/registered before entrance is allowed.

I love to take my dog to the dog park, but seldom, if ever, visit Stuart because it is always overrun by poorly behaved dogs and even more poorly behaved owners. I fear for the health and safety of myself and my dog every time I visit there.

Here is a link to a park that has done this right. Let's not let Washington park become unsafe and a haven for lousy pet owners.

The Size of the Park
I recently moved to Springfield and I love Washington park. I have 2 friendly dogs that love to run and explore the woods. The dog park in NW Springfield is not fun because the dogs can see the fence boundary and the region does not require exploration. I bring this to your attention because I am concerned that the new dog park is going to be small. Also, no tall grass, hills or various terraines for the dogs to explore. In addition, I would love to do a fund raising project for the Park. I would like to know more about what the park will include and what may be needed.

For Additional Information

Letters to SJ-R
Many have asked how they can help in support of the Washington Dog Park. Positive letters to the editor in the SJ-R may help garner support. Also, favorable comments to published letters online may be helpful.

About the FEEDBACK portion of the website
As part of my responsibility for the FEEDBACK portion of the website, I review each post before publishing to the website. All posts which are constructive in nature either in favor or against the proposal will be posted. Rude or repetitive posts will not be posted. Thank you for your understanding.

Successful Disc Golf Course, Similar Initial Community Concerns
I remember when I proposed a disc golf course for Lincoln Park back in 2003. Everyone seemed to be against it and used some of the same arguments against us. Traffic, interfering with other events, noise and the type the people it would attract. I finally got it passed to be placed in the park for three months and if there was even ONE complaint, they would take it out and move it to some park that few people heard of or used.

That summer that course was used by a LOT of people and probably half of them were neighbors to the park. They loved it and were shocked that all the golfers were friendly and polite.

One day a neighborhood group had a picnic in the middle of one of the fairways. Not only did all the golfers skip that hole, one of the players stopped to explain the game and provided the group with a few discs to try the game for themselves!

People always think the worse when something new comes into the area. I am sure many neighbors fought the bell tower when it was first proposed because of the noise and traffic. But a barking dog is not as noisy as many of the trucks driving down Chatham Road and I don't think any dog owner would drive to the park to walk their dog when there is a LOT of traffic going on because of some festival or other event at the park.

I would suggest that you suggest the same deal that I had with the park. Put in the basics (fence and trash) for one summer and if there are any verifiable complaints, then the park district pays to move the fence and trash cans but your organization doesn't have to provide upkeep and improvements if it is moved.

In the past 10 years, the park district has loved the disc golf course, has done many improvements and even made it larger with a second course. It is one of the best courses in Illinois.

Great idea - WRONG PARK
Washington Park is truly a jewel of our community. It is blessed with the wonderful displays of the Botanical Garden and the World Renown Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon. My main concerns are noise interfering with Carillon concerts and parking for events. Both the Carillon and Botanical Garden host various yearly events and the dog park seems to contradict the serenity of both groups. Beautiful private weddings and other parties are held at these two facilities and I don't feel dogs will enhance those events. The Angel of Hope was a wonderful addition to the area and also is contradictory by nature to barking dogs. I am a dog lover and feel strongly there is a better park in Springfield for this venture.
It seems the sequence of events is out of order. Why is SPD allowing fundraising before they vote YEA or NAY?

Consider location
My objecton to a dog park is mainly the fenceing. Fences make good neighbors, but do not beautify a park. I suggest putting the dog park in the area near Fayette, east an above the Carillon. The land is higher there and the fence would not show from Fayette or to people walking/running/biking along the parkway as it would be above thier line of vision.

Need more bark in the park
I hope they build this dog park so I can get a dog and bring him here. Then he gets to run around and I get to meet new people. Win Win!

Fundraiser Idea
I am aware that there are many celebrities and Broadway stars who are animal rights activists, one of the most prominent ones being Ms. Bernadette Peters. She founded the Broadway Barks foundation and is a huge lover of animals. It might be a good idea to see if we could contact her about doing a benefit concert or something of that nature to help fundraise for the Washington Dog Park. Even if she couldn't make an appearance, I feel as though she would be a huge supporter of this cause given her compassion for animals.

Public Restrooms
There is only one public restroom in the park and it is an embarrassment and health hazard. Stuart Park is well run and uses porta potties that are cleaner than the one in Washington Park. Southwind even uses porta potties. They can't be that much of an added expense. You should have some available on that side of the park and near the dog park would be a good location.

The way Washington Park is now I won't walk my dog there. People worry about dog poop but have they looked at all the geese and duck droppings. Maybe I don't know the park well enough but I just don't use it. One I'm concerned about the plants and if they are poisonous to dogs and chemicals that might be used.

Because Washington Park is centrally located you will probably have way more dogs using it than you are anticipating.

Have you compared other dog parks in other communities?

We certainly could use more dog parks. We use Stuart but because of the distance and having dogs of different size it's inconvenient.

A wonderful plan
A dog park at Washington Park would be amazing! I see so many dogs on our walks and I know my dog wants to play!

A suggestion
The dog park I am currently a member of has rules that glisten 12 and under should not be allowed in the dog area, this is for their safety- as children running can make dogs playful towards them and this would lessen liability.

In response to “Dog Parks, Good or Bad?”
• Dog owners must be responsible for their dogs. There is no hired person at the gate to monitor the park, although we would welcome “Washington’s Army” of volunteers to pledge to support a safe and healthy environment for the dog park. We want a “if you see something, say something” atmosphere among the users .
• The dog park would be divided for large and small dogs, approximately 2/3 large dog and 1/3 small dog.
• There may be some mixing of small and large dogs depending on “family” circumstances, especially if no one else is there. The key will be consideration of others using the dog park.
• Dogs will need to be vaccinated with proof of vaccination by means of appropriate dog tags.
• Dogs in season should not be brought to the dog park.
• The park police have the responsibility to enforce the rules of our park system.
• No particular breeds will be banned. It is the behavior of the dog that matters, not the breed. Dog owners should keep a leash close at hand in case their dog shows signs of aggression.
• The park district carries liability insurance.
• Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs as they are elsewhere in Washington Park.
• Surveillance cameras have not been discussed yet, but could be considered if there is an interest in that and we have adequate funding.
• The park police would respond to emergencies as they would if there were no off-leash area for dogs.
• Support for this project has been broad based, but not universal. We appreciate a fair discussion in hopes of addressing fair concerns and improving the final proposal.
• The Park Board Trustees approved the concept for the dog park but has not approved the final project.
• There will be a public hearing January 7 with details posted in the “Bark” section of the website.
• There are residential areas across Chatham Road which is a buffer to any noise of the dog park. The traffic count on Chatham Road South of Old Jacksonville road is 18,100/day providing its own associated noise.
• Parking would be shared with the Botanical Gardens/Carillon and the Rose Garden.
• There are no planned structures (shelters) in the dog park (although these could be added later if there is demand for this). We will have benches, waste receptacles, and a watering station.
• Emptying of waste receptacles would be expected in conjunction with waste pick up of other waste receptacles in Washington Park.
• Children in the dog park would need to be carefully monitored by their parents. Again, personal responsibility is important along with common sense.
• No anticipated problems from run-off from the dog park. This has been reviewed with two contacts at the Illinois EPA. We expect that people will clean up after their dogs.
• There are lots of dogs already in Washington Park. The dog park simply provides an opportunity for an off-leash area.
• The dog park would be open during daylight hours only. There will be no planned lighting at night other than what would be needed for security purposes.
• The rules for the dog park would be similar to the rules established for Stuart Dog Park and will be posted at the entrance.
• We have no plans for a signed release before use of the dog park.
• 20% of our funds raised will be set aside for maintenance. We have a goal of $100,000 in fundraising. The Springfield Park District budget is $17.9 million.
• The cost of maintenance was estimated at $4000.00 per year including mowing. This is an area already mowed, so the added cost of the dog park is quite small.
• We have an opportunity for volunteers to help maintain the dog park with cleanup and plantings. There may be high school students who need community service hours. There is also the possibility of working with the master gardening students at the Botanical Gardens to help to develop and maintain the plantings.
• Fundraising is through the Springfield Parks Foundation. They manage the funds. Contributions are tax deductible.
• Approval for the dog park will depend on a favorable public hearing, successful fundraising, and approval of the final design by the Park Board Trustees.
• All funding must be in place before the project is approved.
• Park district employees have responsibility for maintaining Washington Park. The proposed dog park is simply an off-leash area as a part of Washington Park. Union contracts would continue as negotiated with the park district. The proposed area is currently maintained by the park district and will continue to need maintenance (dog park or no dog park).
• The proposed dog park is not a restricted use area. It is intended for the recreational use of the people of Springfield.
• Owners are responsible for the behavior of their dogs. Dogs bark in the park (dog park or no dog park).
• We would plan to trim dead limbs and take down dead trees for safety purposes. We need the trees for shade.
• Washington Park is centrally located, an advantage over other parks in the district. Other dog parks could be added over time to other parks if there is support from the people of Springfield.

Dog Parks, Good or Bad?
Dog Parks, Good or Bad?

After reading that the Springfield Park District Board had voted to permit a Dog Park in Washington Park, I decided to do some research.

What sounds like a good idea raises a lot of questions, such as:

1.Is there a person, with authority at the gate at all times the Dog Park is open, a
person to continually monitor the park?
2. Are there areas for large dogs and small dogs?
a. Must dogs from same family be separated?
b. My dog is a big dog but he/she never fights. Can I just go ahead and put him/her
in with my little dog?
3. Do the dogs have their vaccinations, and must it and can it be verified?
4. Are they neutered or spay. If not are they in season? Is the Park District held
harmless for dogs mating?
5. Are Pit Bulls, Rottweiler’s, and Chows Permitted?
a. If so must they carry special additional insurance?
6. Are there penalties for dogs that fight?
a. Can they be banned?
7. Who insures that dog poop is cleaned up? That is a huge problem and the smell can
be very, very obnoxious throughout the area.
8. Are there sufficient funds set aside for personnel, maintenance, insurance on an on-
going basis?
9. Are there surveillance cameras to identify problem dogs and their owners?
a. Who responds to situations?
10. Is the community as a whole in support of this venture?
a. How well publicized was this prior to the vote and newspaper article?
11. Is it located near residential areas where barking might be an issue?
12. Is there ample parking? Will additional parking be required, at what cost?
13. Is there water accessible for the dogs?
14. Are there adequate benches for the owners?
15. Is there shelter out of the sun, and sudden rains?
16. Are children under a certain age permitted or is this adult only in control of the dog?
17. Are there passes/credentials necessary to assure compliance with restrictions?
18. Is there a run-off problem with dog poop?
19. Who picks up the waste containers and how often?
20. What are the hours?
21. When a Dog Owner gets sued, what protects the Park District and we the citizens from incurring liability?
22. Are there rules/ regulations adequately displayed at the entrance and in the Dog Park itself?
23. Do those using the Dog Park sign a release before getting credentials?
24. What assurances do we have that this will never be a cost to the Park District?
25. Who manages the money???
26. Who and what assures us all that there are enough funds to start, and maintain the project without the use of Park District funds?
27. Will union rules and contracts come into play, and at what cost?
28. Who removes snow and who mows, cleans, and maintains the area?
29. Is the proposed area a restricted use area, as in “For recreational use only”?
30. Who controls the barking?
31. Are we cutting down old growth timber in our Park? Are we destroying a natural area?

The two overriding issues I have with this proposal are:
1. long term funding for the ongoing upkeep and operations
2. the Safety of children. Dog fights are hell to break up and if a child gets involved, that will be tragic!!

I might add, though I am not necessarily for or against this proposal, we all must be vigilant as such relates to taking on additional financial burdens. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We must be positively, locked down certain, that this will not cost the Park Board (we the citizens) money. I’ll go with the majority but I think the majority needs all the facts first! Why not Southwinds Park? Greater open space, far less congestion, plenty of parking, no trees to cut down, and on and on....

Good idea
A dog park is not just a good place for dogs, but a nice place to go and meet other dog owners. So, it's not just for the community of dogs, or dogs and owners, but also a nice place for people to gather and talk about their favorite subject: dogs.

A dog park is a safe, clean environment to let dogs have fun off leash, and allow people a chance to enjoy the outdoors with their dogs.

Long Overdue!
It is surprising there hasn't been a demand for a dog park in Springfield's beautiful Washington Park before now, and I commend the folks who are spearheading this effort. They are community leaders of the highest caliber. Decatur has had a dog park in one of its major parks for a few years (Fairview Park). It's one of those features new residents have come to expect.

Stellar Idea
Who couldn't like this idea? A well managed dog park is essential to such a family friendly neighborhood and will be a great addition to an already great park. Keep up the great work!

No brainer
I just don't understand the controversy. It stands to reason the dog park is a great idea and would be an asset to the community. The proposal ensures sustainability and at NO cost to the Park District. And it will be free to all who want to use it. How great is that? Thank goodness, Springfield has a leash law but because of that, there is no where for dogs to run unless they have a fenced in yard. Not everyone has that luxury. Dogs need exercise and need to burn off their pent up energy, and being able to blow off steam makes them more relaxed and obedient. Playing with other dogs teaches social manners, therefor making for a calmer and non- aggressive dog. Dogs need us but they need other dogs as well. It's a no brainer really. Dogs need play time and owners need well-behaved dogs. We have been in various dog parks and not once have we been disappointed. There are always signs with rules of clean up and acceptable behaviors. The dog owners have always been responsible and pleasant. The dogs are well-loved and happy. In our experience, only responsible dog owners take the time to bring their dogs to a park. The dogs are well-behaved and healthy. They are eager to run and romp with their own kind. Anyone who does not think of their dog as part of their family will not bother to treat their dog to the park. Poor puppy. Come on, spend some time with a dog, observe dogs in action at a park, and experience their freedom and utter joy. It's contagious. Watching dogs play will only bring a smile to your face and who knows, may even brighten your day. For that short time, feel what the dog feels,.....heaven. How can anyone not agree with this?

Good for dogs, better for the community.
I grew up in Springfield and would love to see this park succeed.

One of my first times seeing a dog park was in Portland, Oregon. My wife and I were relaxing under a nearby tree just as folks started coming home from work. Before we knew it, about 10 to 15 people had gathered - chatting, laughing, and playing with their dogs in an off-leash area.

I had never seen anything quite like it. So I went up to ask if they were a local dog club. "Nope. We just live around here. We get together with these friends and neighbors almost everyday." What a beautiful thing.

I think the Washington Dog Park would be good for dogs and even better for the community.

A Place for Doogie
What a wonderful, wonderful idea. I am well acquainted with Washington Park, having walked there at 5 a.m. every day for many, many years. My family always has had pets who were treated as members of the family. So, I recently adopted an older dog; a schnauzer mix whom I call Doogie Schnauzer. Although I adopted Doogie because he needed a home and my heart broke when I saw his picture on APL web site, he has taken on the role of a therapy dog to me. I had recently suffered the death of a most loved family member, and Doogie has provided me with love and comfort as well as being someone for me to care for and at whom I laugh--every day. Doogie relies on me to provide socialization for him with other dogs and with people. Doogie is an active little dog and he enjoys my large, fenced back yard; but due to a physical handicap, I cannot take him for long walks in the neighborhood. I take Doogie to a groomer who allows the dogs to roam about and to socialize with the groomers and with the other dogs. No crates are used by the groomer; Doogie loves going there and has benefitted from that free and easy environment. What a great place a dog park would be in Washington Park. It would be close to my home. Doogie could sniff, roam, explore, and just be happy making friends--both canine and human. And I would find it a joy meeting dogs and their humans.

Central Location
I like the idea of having a place to let my dog play off of the leash that is near the center of Springfield. The current dog park is nice, but quite a hike from where I live.

Will Be Very Popular
I am in the park frequently with my two dogs. This is a great idea. The dog area will be VERY popular and we hope it will be ready soon!

Exercise for Dogs and Owners
As the owner of a 15-year-old dog, I value regular exercise for dogs to contribute toward a healthy life style and their longevity. Therefore I strongly support the Washington Dog Park to afford an opportunity for other dog lovers to give their dogs not only exercise, but also share quality time together.

Great Idea
Sounds like a great idea! Washington Park is my favorite park in Springfield, and I think a space where dogs can run off leash would be a great addition.