The Park District of Oak Park is set to break ground on two major renovations next week, including adding the first dedicated dog park in the village.

Construction is set to begin July 12 on Maple Park and Euclid Square, the next two parks to be renovated in the wake of the park district’s 2005 “Renew Our Parks” referendum.

Maple, a three-block-long parcel between Maple and Harlem that touches Roosevelt Road, is slated for the most noticeable changes. The park’s northwest corner will be transformed into a dog park, and the three tennis courts in the middle of the park will be replaced with two at the southwest corner.

While the Park District has an impromptu dog park at Ridgeland Common, Maple would have the first area specifically designed for that purpose. It’ll feature a water fountain with a special pet attachment, new benches and new fencing, among other features.

The new dog park’s users will have to register for an electronic key card to get past the park’s gates. Key card owners must be Oak Park residents, and any complaints will be tracked.

Moving the park’s tennis courts to the south end of the park will also eliminate what is now, effectively, a divider down the middle of the park.

The majority of Euclid Square’s improvements, on the other hand, will involve its baseball diamond, which will be expanded and have a new drainage system installed. Euclid Square is at Fillmore and Euclid.

At a pre-construction meeting for Maple Park, park patrons in attendance were split fairly evenly between neighbors with questions about construction logistics, and those trying to put up a last-ditch effort against the park’s plan.

John O’Connor, a lifelong resident of the 1100 block of South Maple, was among those unhappy with the dog park.

“Dog owners are a special interest group – why should they get a piece of this valuable park land?” O’Connor asked during the meeting.

“The problem is that every park user is a special interest,” Park District Superintendent of Building and Grounds Mike Grandy said.

Other residents voiced worries about how parking on the already congested block would be affected, and what times of the day construction contractors would be allowed to operate.

At the meeting’s close, Grandy told the residents that while the end product of the park would be fantastic, it might not always go as planned.

“It’s not all going to go smoothly. One day, a concrete truck is going to pull out and leave a big mess, but when it does, call me,” Grandy said. “This is going to be a great park when it’s done, and it’s going to do wonders for all your property values.”


Fast facts

Maple Park

  • Named after Maple Street
  • 6.98 acres
  • Purchased from a railroad in 1921

Euclid Square

  • Named after Euclid Avenue
  • 2.81 acres

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Ben Meyerson

Ben was Wednesday Journal's crime, parks, and River Forest reporter, until he kept bugging us enough to promote him. Now he's managing two of Wednesday Journal's sister papers in the city, Chicago Journal...