I continue to be insulted, along with many others, at the cavalier manner in which the park district is treating North Oak Park dog owners who wish a dog run to exercise their dogs. At the meeting a few weeks ago at Field Playground, five people spoke saying the proposed area at Taylor Park is too small.
The very design of the Taylor Park area, squeezing in a three-lobed, kidney-shaped dog run the size of three tennis courts where it will not interfere with “more important” park functions, is an insult. Four people asked why locations at Lindberg (Greenfield) Park, for example, at the northeast part of the park, south of the tennis courts, or south of the west soccer goal, are being ignored.
Several years ago, consultants queried residents on their park use priority. Dog parks received the fourth highest support for the number one priority use. Yet at the Field meeting, we were told, in the context of the discussions, the citizens be damned. Nine uses have higher priority. These were given as reasons a dog park could not be provided a larger space at Taylor Park or any space at Lindberg Park: Tot lots, tobaggan slides, soccer fields. youth baseball, adult softball, tennis courts, shaded area, Jens Jensen legacy (a subject on which the consultant spent 15 minutes), and asphalt paths.
Afterward, I asked a park district official what was wrong with the space south of the tennis courts at Lindberg, an area that is completely unused, which is twice as long as that proposed at Taylor Park, and which is already bounded by a tall fence along one edge. The official said that it would cause too much noise near the “quiet area” of the garden area.
Hence, “quiet areas” are a higher priority. That’s 10 higher-order priority uses than the dog parks in the park district’s deliberations.
Let us remember that the people spoke in the poll. Dog parks are not 10th, they are 4th. Democracy has a say. After spending $50-100,000 on consultants and polls, not to mention staff time in preparing professional slides providing the results of those polls, the board is ignoring the wishes of the people.
1 … 2 … 3 … 4th highest priority was expressed for dog parks. Not 5th, not 10th. Fourth.