Logan Square Dog Park: "Another local dream come true"


Peter Escobar and Buddy, Beth Peterson and Ozzie, Roxann Ruiz holds Nacho, Sally Hamann and Brownie, Kimberly & Danielle Pool and Dan Spargur

Wagging tails, little yips and big barks and beaming "parents" greeted the news this weekend that the Logan Square Dog Park (Park 556), tucked in on the west side of Western Ave., south of Logan Blvd., will be constructed this year! 

"Another local dream come true," said Rey Colon, 35th Ward Alderman. "It was rewarding to work with active community residents and Chicago Park District officials in creating a plan and securing the funds to make the Logan Square Dog Park a reality." 

"This all started in the 1990s," explains Sally Hamann who has been a major catalyst behind making change happen on the west side of Western and Logan intersection. 

"First in 2004 or 2005," Hamann says, "the Chicago Park District (CPD) entered into a lease agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to use a 1.6-acre surface area under and adjacent to the expressway for The Skate Park, 2430 W Logan Blvd. They used Open Space Impact Fee (OSIF) funds. 


Roxann Ruiz and Sally Hamann reassure Nacho that his efforts helped make the new park possible

Colon in turn obtained OSIF funds for the dog park.That with private fund raising of around $35,000, puts their available funds at more than $350,000. Even with the funds in place, getting the project started had its steps forward followed by more steps back. 

It was not just the humans who had dreams and worked for funding. Nacho, the small but might Nacho, who tried to paw his way to a financial victory in 2012 was among those rejoicing. He campaigned to win money from dog food producer Beneful. Nacho, his fellow "doglet" friends as well as their humans invested a lot of time, energy and community effort to win the contest that would have funded the site. 

A finalist, he waged a valiant fight including against New York City's Donald the Tramp, (Tramp accused Nacho of not being an American!) Nacho continued his efforts, though he fell short of his goal. 

A vendor, Friedler Construction, was selected from a group of 5 to create the dog park. According to a letter from Randy DuRussel, Construction Project Manager, Department of Planning and Construction, Chicago Park District, Friedler's bid, at $293,668 was the lowest and it includes three ornamental benches/installation, dog themed inserts/stamps in the concrete seat wall and community bulletin board/installation. 

That bid leaves a healthy contingency in the projects budget, according to DuRussel, which will cover unforeseen site conditions and possible add-ons towards the end of the project. 

Construction is expected to begin around the 1st of May, with completion anticipated in August 2015. 

Roxann Ruiz, Nacho's mom, explained that there is to be a gate which will allow a portion of the space to be separated from the rest of the park for small dogs. Nacho gave this feature a rating of four paws and a nose! 

Joy in Muddville
Under Sunday's gray skies with cold temperatures piercing through outer layers of clothing, a small group of the people, who cleaned up the space over the years, removing rocks, rugs, tires, glass and other garbage from the muddy brown field, celebrated and reminisced. 

Hamann is delighted that Brownie, her four-legged 14-year-old friend, will have a chance to enjoy the new park, though her first generation of dogs were not so fortunate. 

She reminisced about the Mayor of the Logan Square Dog Park who claimed the space as his. He was a Sheppard mix who the neighbors fed and cared for. He would roam the whole area, crossing the streets (A scary thought considering the traffic from Western, Logan and the expressway.) but always returning "home."

Beth Peterson is very excited that Ozzie, her Vizsla, will have a place to run. "This will be great to have no more glass and mud to deal with, which we have done since first coming here in 2011."

Peter Escobar, with his pitbull mix, Buddy, was wondering what the buzz was when he arrived Sunday morning. When he realized that the Dog Park was going to be a reality, he said, "I live a block away and I am super excited about the news! Buddy needs a place to run." 

Kimberly Pool, Dog Park Secretary, said, "This is a great addition to the community. People have worked so hard for so long to get this done. It is finally going to happen!" Her daughter Danielle was equally happy as was Dan Spargur.

So all you dog lovers, remember there is about to be a spectacular newly appointed dog park in your neighborhood. That means that a lot more people will be needed to help maintain a great new community asset.


Brownie, Buddy and Ozzie "talk" about their plans for the new park





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