MYTH: I heard the Winnemac Dog Park committee wants to tear down trees.
FALSE. Winnemac Park Dog Friendly Area Committee has made environmental preservation a PRIMARY focus of our decision-making Principles. We are loathe to remove any trees—the only reason that healthy trees are ever removed during dog park construction is so that equipment can gain access to the site. We are opposed to locations and construction plans that require the removal of mature trees, and have invited all neighbors concerned about the Dog Park's environmental impact to join our design committee, and help influence these decisions.
MYTH: Dog owners will not pick up after themselves.
There is no evidence to support this assertion. The majority of dog owners are amongst the Park's most fastidious users, not only picking up after themselves, but also each other. The committee has visited many dog parks in preparation for design work, and have found that when owners do not pick up after their dogs, other dog owners feel compelled to call them out or pick it up themselves.
MYTH: The Dog Park Committee will abandon the Dog Park after it's built, and no one will keep it clean.
The current leadership of the Dog Friendly Area are committed to staying in our positions until our volunteer infrastructure is solid. All of the City of Chicago's more than 30 Dog Friendly Areas have volunteer committees that have consistently maintained them without issue, in some cases for decades.
MYTH: The presence of a Dog Park is dangerous and unhealthy for children who use other parts of Winnemac Park.
This is an unfounded assertion with no substantiation. In fact, many would assert that dog parks make areas with heavy dog traffic safer for children and canines alike.
PARTIAL MYTH: The Dog Park won't solve the off-leash problem.
The off-lease problem is more complex than a Dog Park, or our Committee, can solve all on our own. But while off-leash dogs would not be entirely eliminated, they would be significantly reduced.
FACTS: Why do we support a Dog Park?
Dog Parks are an amenity that provides a dedicated, desired, and joyful space for one of our area's largest and fastest-growing constituencies, that realtors believe contribute to property values, and that can be built without infringing on the natural environment or the needs of other stakeholders.
MYTH: The Dog Park Committee wants to remove the tennis court.
A location in the east tennis court was submitted with our recent proposal—a location identified as a compromise between Alderman Vasquez and Keep Winnemac Green, a group of community members opposed to the dog park, and based upon an understanding that the court was underutilized due to many years of deferred maintenance. Since submitting this location, a group of tennis-playing neighbors have come forward who would like to see the court restored. Our group is open to all potential locations provided they meet our Principles, which include respect for the environment and vulnerable stakeholders.
Keeping this in mind, we submitted a letter amendment to our proposal to reiterate to the Chicago Park District that our first choice in locations would be "Site 1" demonstrated in the image to the left. This site was represented best in the site surveys conducted during the DFA request process. The site plan demonstrates the maximum size allowed (15k SF) for a DFA, and understanding that the CPD may decide for a smaller site than the request. The site plan also includes our previously discussed proposal for a landscaped barrier that will accommodate the following:
Eliminate impact on surrounding nature prairies,
Increase distance between the DFA and pathways increasing further the safety the DFA will bring to the park for children, adults, and other animals within the park
Reduce noise coming from inside the DFA,
Decrease distractions for the dogs inside the DFA, and
Allow the DFA to integrate with the natural beauty of the park surrounding.
MYTH: There are other dog parks close by, so we do not need one at Winnemac Park.
This is all a matter of perspective, but the closest dog park is a mile away from Winnemac Park. So the community that Winnemac Park currently serves needs to drive their dogs to even the closest dog parks. Many residents of the community have disabilities and service dogs, and many have no car. Having this kind of amenity nearby means they can provide their dog necessary exercise and socialization without traveling far distances or spending tons of money on daycare. This dog park desert location lends itself to the next MYTH...
MYTH: A dog park at Winnemac Park will end up being a destination for so many more dog owners drawing too much dog traffic.
There is really no way to tell if a DFA at Winnemac Park will increase the already substantial dog traffic, but based on the locations of other DFAs, it is unlikely scenario. Instead, it will likely draw the already present dog traffic to an area designed to accommodate the traffic, play and waste. This means less off-leash dogs interrupting other activities at the park or approaching individuals and reactive dogs on leash.