Off-Leash Dog Park

Although, this idea re-surfaced in December 2018 when a citizens group interested in a fenced-in, off-leash dog park, its real genesis came out of the 2016 Winnetka Park District Community Needs Assessment Survey. An off-leash dog park was ranked, as a top five priority investment and a number two unmet need for parks and facilities.

Based on extensive research and evaluation of park sites and other public land parcels, the Park District staff and board have identified that West Elm Street Park and Crow Island Woods are the two most viable options for a potential off-leash dog park. Detailed information on how these sites were chosen is included below.

December 13, 2018: Board Meeting Minutes
January 10, 2019: Board Meeting Minutes
February 28, 2019: Board Meeting Minutes
March 14, 2019: Board Meeting Minutes
March 21, 2019: Board Meeting Minutes | Presentation
April 11, 2019: Board Meeting Minutes
May 16, 2019: Presentation

Community Engagement

Meetings

In order to gauge the community’s interest in a dog park and the sites identified, the Park District will be holding the below meetings. During these meetings, attendees will have the opportunity to learn why the sites were chosen, view the proposed area of the dog park, review conceptual plans, ask questions, and give feedback to Park District staff. Both the evening and daytime meetings at each site will follow the same format.

Monday, June 24
West Elm Street Park
10-11am or 7-8pm

Tuesday, June 25
Crow Island Woods
10-11am or 7-8pm

Feedback Survey

If you are unable to attend any of the meetings, you may give your feedback and thoughts by taking an online survey. This survey will close on Tuesday, July 2 at 11pm.

Click here to take survey.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Costa Kutulas at ckutulas@nullwinpark.org or (847) 501-2052.

Determining Suitable Sites

In January 2019, Park District staff began the process of researching and evaluating potential sites in the community to identify viable options for an off-leash dog park. The sites evaluated included land owned by the Park District, the Village of Winnetka, ComEd/Union Pacific, the Cook County Forest Preserve, and District 36. Additionally, staff reached out to neighboring communities to explore opportunities for developing a shared dog park.

A total of 33 sites were evaluated to determine whether or not they had the potential to meet the minimum requirements necessary for a dog park. Out of the 33 sites evaluated, only four sites met the minimum necessary requirements. Each of these four sites were explored further to determine suitability and further narrow down the scope of consideration. Details and results are included below.

West Elm Street Park (owned by Winnetka Park District)
Results: Suitable

Crow Island Woods (owned by Winnetka Park District)
Results: Suitable

Sheridan Park (owned by Village of Winnetka)
Results: Not Suitable
Due to parking and traffic constraints, proximity to houses, and small size of park, this site was removed from further consideration.

Village of Winnetka Landfill (owned by Village of Winnetka)
Results: Not Suitable
Due to parking constraints and location along heavily traveled and congested Willow Road, this site was removed from further consideration.

Top Suitable Sites

West Elm Street Park

Property size: 3.74 acres
Proposed dog park size: 1.21 acres
Estimated cost to build dog park: $100,000-$125,000

Positive aspects:

  • Size of park allows a portion to remain as a passive people park
  • Size of park allows dog park to be set back from sidewalk, providing additional distance between the park and nearby houses, thereby reducing the impact on neighbors
  • Land is already an open grassy area and does not need to be altered (aside from amendments to improve drainage)
  • Park has existing shade trees
  • Park has existing water connection for potential future dog shower/fountain

Potential challenges:

  • Proximity to neighbors
  • Proximity to school
  • Proximity to playground
  • Topography (some drainage issues)
  • Mature tree canopy
  • Limited to on-street parking (currently)
  • No restrooms available on-site
  • Mixed usage of park

Conceptual drawing of potential dog park at West Elm Street Park.

Crow Island Woods

Property size: 17.91 acres
Proposed dog park size: 1.11 acres
Estimated cost to build dog park: $100,000-$125,000

Positive aspects:

  • Size of park allows a portion to remain as people park
  • Park has existing shade trees
  • Has existing water connection for potential future dog shower/fountain
  • Restrooms available on-site

Potential challenges:

  • Proximity to neighbors
  • Proximity to school
  • Proximity to playground
  • Amount of rentals and mixed usage of park
  • Topography (some drainage issues)
  • Mature tree canopy
  • Parking restraints
  • Redirection of Park District’s current restoration plan for park
  • Understory plants would need to be removed and replaced with grass
  • Village’s potential stormwater management plan

Conceptual drawing of potential dog park at Crow Island Woods.


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