A Conversation with Michelle Brown

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Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! Let’s start with an easy one, you have pledged a generous $500 match to the spring mulch campaign. What motivated you to make this gift?

We really love the Horner Park Dog Park! We moved to Irving Park in 2020, and it has been so incredible to see this community come together to build this park for our dogs. So when you guys launched the mulch campaign, we obviously saw a need. There was always this mental calculus of “is it worth it if Gordon has to take a bath?”. 

And had you supported the dog park before this?

We had made a few small donations before, including at the start of the campaign, and were a little bummed that it wasn’t progressing as fast as we had hoped. I knew we could do more, and we wanted to motivate others who may not have given yet, and hopefully take this campaign over the finish line.

I really think that it has energized the community! As of this conversation, we’ve already raised over $200 for your match, so thank you again for that.

Of course, that’s so exciting! 

I’ve seen that you have an adorable pup, Gordon. Can you tell me a little about him?

Gordon is an English Bulldog, born in March of 2020, so he’s a pandemic puppy. Not long after we brought him home, we began looking for a house with a yard for him, and we eventually bought our current home in Irving Park. After we moved in, we were so excited to see there was a dog park nearby!

And what is Gordon’s favorite thing to do at the dog park?

[Laughs] Gordon loves to run really fast, grab the most disgusting tennis ball he can find, bring it back to me, and refuse to drop it. He just holds on to it and jams it into my leg. I keep telling him that if he drops it, I’ll throw it, but that’s just not what he’s into.

My Golden Retriever does the same thing, so that sounds about right! As we wrap up here, what do you hope the dog park achieves in the future?

I’m excited to see where we go from here! I know that things like this are more expensive to upkeep than people realize. Still, it’s so important to make sure that the park and amenities are safe and maintained. Plus, it really brings the community together. I’ve met so many people at the dog park, and I hope that the organization gets to a financial place where we can ensure the park is there for people’s use for years to come.

And finally, what would you say to someone who also loves the dog park but hasn’t made a gift yet?

I would say, think about how the dog park enriches your best friend’s life. We casually throw our money at so many things every day. But, if our dog had disposable income, I think this is what they would spend it on. 

Written by: Sara Tews

Eat More Hole Foods

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Head over to Somethin’ Sweet Donuts and start salivating! When you make a purchase at Somethin’ Sweet Donuts on January 21st, mention the dog park, and they will donate a percent of profits to the dog park.

Thank You Chicago Association of REALTORS®

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As we trudge our way though the cold and snow of Winter and into Spring, we would like to send some warm wishes to express our appreciation to some of the people and organizations who have very generously supported the Horner Park Dog Park. Their support has raised funds to assist with the next phase of improvements to the Horner Park Dog Park (currently in progress), including a paved entryway, water feature, and fencing for a small dog area within the dog park. We greatly appreciate all those who generously contributed to and helped to support the dog park and would like to highlight a few of them to express our gratitude.   

 
In 2020, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® generously provided the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee with a community project/placemaking grant to help support Phase 2 construction of the dog park. The mission of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® is to unite all facets of the industry as a leading advocate for real estate, driving REALTOR® business success and economic development of our communities. This grant to the dog park was guided by their vision statement:


             Through the efforts of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®,
             members have expanded market opportunities, and businesses,
             both large and small are thriving and committed to the revitalization
             of Chicagoland communities as healthy, vibrant and diverse places to
             live, work and play.


We would also like to thank the office of 12th District Cook County Commissioner Bridget Degnen, who graciously helped connect the Chicago Association of REALTORS® with the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee. When describing why she suggested that the dog park would be a worthy recipient of this grant, Commissioner Degnen stated, “Who doesn’t love dogs?!  As a dog owner, I felt connected to this project and wanted to offer as much support as possible.  The County has limited resources, so I wanted to let as many people as possible know about this project and the great things your organization is doing to create the Horner Park Dog Park. It was the least I could do to make connections and try to assist in making this a reality.”

Commissioner Degnen’s family includes an eight-year-old Golden Retriever named Taggart and a soon-to-arrive 11-week-old Golden Retriever puppy named Leo. She describes Taggart as “the best boy ever and huge and fluffy.” She notes that Taggart eats “everything except he hates green lettuce and spits it out,” and enjoys going on hikes but dislikes getting burrs in his fur. Commissioner Degnen supports the dog park because, “The Horner Park Dog Park is a great community space for pets and owners alike.  It will be state of the art once it is finished and be an invaluable outdoor resource for all residents and dogs in the neighborhood and City.  Living in a City does not always allow our dogs to run around, play and enjoy an open space and it is great to have this park available.”  She states that she thinks the best thing about the park is “the amount of room available for the dogs to run around and play,” and that she looks forward to the installation of the water feature as part of the Phase 2 construction. Commissioner Degnen also reports looking forward to introducing new puppy Leo to the dog park in the future.

The Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee is grateful to the Chicago Association of REALTORS® for their generous contribution to the dog park and to Commissioner Degnen’s office for their support, which helps us move forward with improvements to the dog park. Community partnerships such as these are greatly appreciated, and they help to continue to make the dog park a vital place to gather in the community.

*Dog Park Closure – Update*

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The Dog Park is open as of Wednesday October 28. However it will be closed during construction which is now supposed to start on Monday, November 2nd. It is expected to take approximately 6-8 weeks. 

Please keep checking our Facebook, Instagram and/or Website for updates.  We will do our best to keep you informed. However, please note that we are not always given information in advance and will not always have real-time answers for you.

We ask that you respect the closure signs and also respect city and park ordinances which prohibit off-leash dogs in other areas of the park or on the tennis courts. At the end of the day, you will have a beautiful new paved entry way, a water fountain, a water play area, a small dog area, benches and repaired fences.  Unfortunately because we did not have enough funding, the turf play fields and other landscaping and amenities will have to wait. Thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this process. Fingers crossed for good construction weather! And as always, if you love your park – help get it finished by donating here.

Build. Together. Today.

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Good News, Bad News! Which do you want first?     


Good news:  Phase II drawings are officially out for bid! The Chicago Park District will review the bids when they are returned in two weeks and hopefully have a contractor selected by early October with construction ready to start soon after.  

Bad news:  When construction starts the dog park will be closed for a period of time, so please keep checking our Facebook, Instagram or Website for updates. 

Good news: This means that we may be getting a paved entryway, water fountain, water play area, small dog area, turf play fields, benches and other improvements to make your dog park experience even more enjoyable in every kind of weather. 

Bad news: We don’t yet have the money to pay for all of this. We are about $40,000 short of estimated costs, and we only have another few weeks to raise it or risk having the project reduced or postponed. 

Good news: We still have time. Help us get the funds we need to get everything built this year! Venmo, Paypal, Mail a Check and other options for donating can be found here https://hornerparkdogpark.org/donate/  If everyone who uses the dog park gave a one-time donation of just $20, we would reach our goal. Please share this information with people you meet at the dog park–many people still don’t know–and encourage them to donate as well so we can build our new dog park, togethertoday

Dog Park Status

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UPDATE: the tree is being removed this morning and should be open by noon on Aug 21.

Although we were told that the tree removal team was not going to get to us until next week, they actually came this morning. Apologies to those who were asked to leave. On the upside, this means that the park will not have to be closed next Tuesday or Wednesday.  The downed tree on the East side was removed and they also trimmed other tree branches inside the dog park. Orange snow fencing indicates where the fence panels are damaged. Please stay clear of these areas until we can get new metal fencing installed. Thank you. 

Dog Park Closed until further notice

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The dog park sustained damage in last week’s storms and will be closed for tree removal and repair. The tree that damaged the north fence has been removed and we are working to set up a temporary barrier to prevent injury or easy escape until new fence posts and panels can be ordered and installed. We intend to make similar accommodations on the east side, but cannot begin until the tree that is currently resting on that fence is removed.

The tree removal folks were supposed to come Tuesday Aug 18, but may have been called away to attend another job. We do not know when they will be back and so we cannot say when the dog park will be reopened.  What we do know is that we don’t want the tree folks to come and go leaving the east fence wide open and then have someone visit the dog park after they leave but before we can secure the gap, and let their dog off leash only to see them run out the opposite side. As such, we ask for your help in following these guidelines, as it directly impacts how quickly we can get the fence repaired.

We will keep you posted as to any further updates, and let you know as soon as it can be opened again. Thank you for your patience and understanding and adherence to the closure. 

🐾💙Adopt a Bench💚🐾

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It’s the Home Stretch!!

Always wanted to see your name in print? Love your friendly neighborhood dog park and can’t wait for it to have water fountains, a paved entry, small dog area and more?

We know that the timing isn’t good. In fact, it’s terrible! But here’s the thing: We have to make a final push to get the last $50,000 we need to complete Phase II now as the drawings are going out to bid. If we can’t raise the money by the time the contract is assigned, we will have to make half of the renovations now and the rest at a later date. This will be more expensive and more disruptive at the end of the day, so let’s get this done! 

Our design has two benches in the small dog area and three in the large dog area. Each has a customizable plaque. So take this opportunity to commemorate a special occasion or to remember a special person or a special dog. Plus, you’ll be invited to an exclusive ceremony to dedicate your bench. Plaques can have up to 48 characters across four lines, so there’s room to go in on it with a friend too. 

There are four ways to participate in this historic fundraising AUCTION

1. Sponsor a memorial bench outright: Two available for instant purchase 
2. Bid on an honoree bench: Two available for bid 
3. Purchase a share in our awesome community bench (only 60 spots! Grab yours now!!)
4. Click here and contribute what you can by using the green “donate” button on the upper right hand corner of the page

Thank you in advance for whatever you can do. Be safe and be well.


VOTE Menu Funds for DOG PARK! UPDATE: We Won!! Thank You🥰

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*****UPDATE: VOTING EXTENDED UNTIL JANUARY 30*****

Participatory budgeting is underway in the 33rd Ward. Here’s your opportunity to help provide $25K to help complete the dog park. What does this mean for you?

If you live in the ward and are 14+ years, you can get a ballot by clicking here: https//:tinyurl.com/vote4dogs. It takes 1 minute out of your day, please help💚💙🐾 You may also vote in person at the 33rd Ward Office: 3001 W. Irving Park Rd. Office: 773-840-7880 for hours and deets.

So, How close are we to being fully funded? We are within striking distance, and the $25K from the Participatory Budgeting vote will get us that much closer. In round numbers, here’s what we’re looking at:

  • Estimated Cost of Completion: $250K
  • Funds Committed: $185K
  • Amount Needed to put Project out to Bid: $65K (if we get the $25K from the Participatory Budget Process, this goes down to $40K)

Please Note: We will not have final costs until the project is put out to bid. The project can not be put out to bid until we have raised the estimated amount of the project. As such, costs are always subject to change. However, we wanted to ensure that we are being as transparent as possible, so that you, our neighbors, friends and supporters can see how much has been accomplished and how close we are to goal. Let’s get this park finished in 2020!!