When I learned that Oak Park was opening two dog parks, I was elated. Our Max would be able to have some social fun with his new four-legged friends! He really needs to be able to romp with other dogs for his physical and mental health.

Then I found out that there was to be an outrageous fee for him to be part of the fun, originally $75. After recently checking, I see the fee has been reduced to “only” $45 plus a $10 fee for a key card. I can’t understand how other municipalities can offer their citizens and their dogs a chance to socialize for free or for a nominal (usually $10) fee while Oak Park has to demand the high fee it is asking.

Every day on my way to work, I pass a brand new, beautiful dog park at Sangamon and Monroe in Chicago and it is always filled with pooches and their people. Everyone has a great time. I asked a patron how much the city charged for access to the park and the person (with a shocked look on his face) answered, “There’s no charge. You just bring your licensed dog.” Forest Park has a great park that is always filled with people and dogs. They charge licensed dog owners $10 a year, which would certainly cover any maintenance because there are so many people using it. The charge for non-residents to use the park is $50, still cheaper than Oak Park.

I’ve often passed Maple Park, where I would like to take Maxie, and twice since it’s been open I have seen one lonely dog there. Otherwise it’s been empty. No one can afford the ridiculous fee Oak Park is charging, not in these stressful financial times. Why would I pay an exorbitant fee to take Max to socialize in a park with no patrons?

There are a multitude of parks for Oak Park residents’ children to use, and we pay for them with tax dollars. What kind of response would the village get if they began asking residents to pay for their children to play in playgrounds or tot lots? Well, most dog owners consider their pets to be part of the family as well. How about becoming reasonable and, if there has to be a charge, keep it minimal?

Dolores Tully
Oak Park

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