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DeKalb’s park leaders plan to discuss dog park

Published: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Fido and Rover could have a space of their own to run off-leash, if a renewed effort to build a small dog park is successful.

John Tobias, a 32-year DeKalb resident, wants to build a simple 5-acre dog park near the skate park on West Dresser Road, east of DeKalb High School. He attended Thursday’s park board meeting and is waiting to hear from park commissioners about the next steps.

“Many, many people over the years have requested it,” Tobias said. “But it’s been low on the priority list for the park district because there wasn’t any money.”

In fact, about three years ago, Tobias and others suggested building a 13-acre park with a pond and a parking lot but were unable to raise the $200,000 to $250,000 it would cost.

More recently, interim Executive Director Lisa Small suggested pursuing a cheaper plan that could be expanded later, if funding allowed and interest demanded. The new proposal includes fencing and lighting. Dog owners would use the parking lot for the skate park.

Commissioners will discuss the idea more and likely seek more public opinion, park board President Phil Young said. They are open to considering locations other than West Dresser Road and expect to fund the construction, rather than encouraging supporters to seek donations.

“We’re going to do a quick review of this and see if that’s a good place to put it,” Young said. “I think there’s definitely an interest in having a dog park in DeKalb.”

Young expects the dog park will be discussed at the next park board meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Hopkins Park Community Center, 1403 Sycamore Road.

Presently, some DeKalb County forest preserves allow off-leash dogs during certain time periods, but the spaces aren’t enclosed, Tobias said. Rockford has three dog parks and Campton Hills has one, but there aren’t closer options for the 13,000 licensed dogs in DeKalb County.

“We never gave up,” Tobias said. “We were always hoping for a large donor to come forward, but we didn’t find that.”

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