By Dan Haley
Until a permanent location is picked, Oak Park dog owners and their pets can enjoy a few hours of fun every weekend (and holidays) at Stevenson Park.
Stevenson has been selected as the temporary Dog Park Plus locale, allowing Oak Parkers to exercise their pets off-leash in a designated part of the park between 7 and 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays. The temporary site debuted on Saturday, Aug. 10.
The next step in the process of identifying a permanent Dog Park Plus location will take place Thursday, August 15, when the park board meets at 7:30 p.m.
"We have developed criteria that will be used to look at each park," said Jan Arnold, executive director of the park district. "We'll weigh each park against those criteria. If certain parcels meet a particular threshold [within the criteria], then we'll have a discussion about going back to having some community meetings about those parks. The objective is to keep the Dog Park Plus program active."
Arnold added: "We want to be clear in our terminology that Dog Park Plus is a program and not a facility."
Hired by the park district, John MacManus has worked as an advisor regarding the search along with input from the Friends of Oak Park Dogs group. Stevenson, Maple and Andersen parks have been toured by MacManus and members of FOOPD, but every park district parcel is essentially under consideration.