South Siders push for dog parks

South Side residents are doggedly pushing for space for their four-legged friends to play off-leash at neighborhood parks.

A number of efforts are underway to try to bring a dog park to the South Side, which could lose its only dog-focused area under a plan to build $30 million Tiger Woods golf course.

While no officially designated dog-friendly areas exist south of the South Loop, there is an informal site called Jackson Bark set up in unused tennis courts at Jackson Park. But that popular venue, featuring agility and obstacle courses, would disappear to make way for the proposed golf course project that would combine existing courses at Jackson Park and South Shore into one 18-hole championship-level course.

Ald. Sophia King of the 4th Ward, which includes Hyde Park and Kenwood, has scheduled an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Kennicott Park to discuss the possibility of bringing a dog-friendly area to the community and to identify potential sites.

“People are saying they feel other communities have that amenity and we don’t,” said Prentice Butler, King’s aide. “A lot of people in the area are clamoring for this amenity.”

King has fielded a number of requests and a lot of interest from residents for a dog park over the past couple of years, he said.

In Chicago, designated dog-friendly areas are the only public areas where dogs are permitted to run off-leash without owners risking a $300 ticket. Most of the city’s 22 dog parks and dog beaches are on the North Side, and two are south of Roosevelt Road in the South Loop.

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