|As we move forward from a challenging 2020 and into a hopeful New Year, we would like to express our gratitude to some of the people whose generous contributions supported the Horner Park Dog Park. In 2020, the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee launched the “Adopt a Bench” program, in which individuals, families, and community groups could sponsor an individual bench with a commemorative plaque or contribute to a community bench to be installed in the Horner Park Dog Park. The funds raised from the “Adopt a Bench” program support 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 the “Adopt a Bench” program and would like to spotlight a few of them to say, “Thank you!”|
Individual Bench Sponsors
We are grateful to those who sponsored an individual bench to be installed in the dog park. Get to know the sponsors of the individual benches:
Dr. Cynthia Olsen
Dr. Olsen is a veterinarian at Ravenswood Animal Hospital, located just across from Horner Park. Her family includes 2 cats, a horse, and a 3 year-old Shiba Inu named Ren (who has been featured in the Horner Park Dog Park calendar). Dr. Olsen says Ren is her “best friend” who loves hanging out with her horse, Troubador.
Dr. Olsen supports the dog park because, “it promotes a sense of community, as well as provides an opportunity for a more active lifestyle.” She notes that the thing she likes best about the dog park is “that it strengthens the human-animal bond.” Dr. Olsen stated that she sponsored an individual bench to support the Horner Park Dog Park and to honor her former mentor. In describing her former mentor, to whom her bench is dedicated, she said, “Dr. Joel Bornstein was an amazing veterinarian who passed away 9 years ago. He was my mentor and my friend. It was truly an honor work beside him.”
Nicole and Patrick Fisher
Sir Francis Bacon, (aka “Bacon”), an 11 year-old Brittany, has been a member of the Fisher family since he was a puppy. Bacon’s name stems from Patrick’s days as a Philosophy major and the family describes him as “the largest, laziest pup in his litter,” as well as energetic and an enthusiastic snuggler. They report that he is also somewhat famous in the neighborhood because of his friendly disposition, noting, “Who can resist his pink nose and nub tail?”
The Fisher family’s trips to the dog park are one of their favorite weekend activities, giving Bacon a chance to get some activity and the kids a chance to interact with the dogs. They state that the best part about the dog park is, “the human aspect of the dog park,” and that, “it’s such a joyful reason for the community to come together!” They dedicated their bench to Bacon in support of the dog park and explain, “The bench symbolizes the important element of bringing people together as well as their dogs. This is what we enjoy about the dog park—meeting and getting to know neighbors, united by our common love of dogs.” They also like the location and size of the dog park, and look forward to the Phase II improvements.
The Fishers note that the pandemic has given them more time to reflect as well as more time with Bacon. They remind us that Bacon’s philosophy for staying grounded during turbulent times is a good one: “Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Community Bench Donors
Many people came together to support the installation of a “Community Bench” in the Horner Park Dog Park. Get to know a few of the Community Bench Donors:
Amber and Armando Flores
Amber and Armando’s family includes a 4 year-old hound mix named Jett (also a former calendar model), who loves to cuddle, is stubborn, spoiled, and the “sweetest lady you’ll ever meet.” On her trips to the Horner Park Dog Park 2-3 times per month, Jett enjoys watching the other dogs and being chased. The Flores family decided to contribute because, “Having a dog park is great for the neighborhood. Every dog owner I speak to loves to bring their dog to the park and being able to enhance the dog park would only bring more joy. We also love that there is a park that we can walk to.” Their favorite thing about the dog park is its size, which gives Jett a lot of space to run as fast as she can. They also note that they look forward to the installation of water features and dog-friendly turf, which will make Horner Park Dog Park “the greatest dog park in Cook County.”
The Flores family states that they support the Horner Park Dog Park because, “With as many multifamily homes in our neighborhood that do not have a yard of their own this provides those dog owners the ability to let their dogs run loose and socialize with other dogs. The people on the DFA work so hard to provide this for the community. I think it’s really important to support them and bring the community together.”
In June 2020, Ian welcomed a Keeshond puppy named Boba Fett into his family. Boba Fett is a frequent visitor to the Horner Park Dog Park, with trips to the park every weekend. Ian reports that he likes Horner Park Dog park because of its size, popularity, and the fact that the surface is not concrete or gravel. He looks forward to planned improvements, including the dog-friendly turf and landscaping.
Ian stated that he contributed to the Community Bench because, “I wanted to support the completion of the dog park and the community bench felt like a concrete way of doing so.” Ian supports the dog park because he finds it to be “a very nice park with a lot of visitors,” likes the plans for future improvements, and would like to see it completed.
Community Group Sponsors
One of the benches was “adopted” for the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee. Get to know a member of the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee:
Erica’s family rescued their pointer collie mix from PAWS in 2011. She states, “I have been serving on the dog park committee for the past 8 years, and I have seen how hard so many people have worked to make this happen from navigating the process with the Park District to organizing fundraisers to managing social media to cleaning up the dog park. Many people don’t realize that the dog park is entirely community funded and maintained. I want to share my gratitude for the dedicated volunteers who have worked tirelessly to build and care for this dog park that we all love. I wish there were space for all of their names! I would also like to encourage others to join the committee and lend a hand in making our dog park the nicest one in the City!”
Erica describes the dog park as “a great place for dogs to get their ya-yas out, but just as importantly it’s a welcoming community gathering space where neighbors can get to know each other.” She notes that people of all ages come to the dog park—even those without pets who come to play with the dogs.
We would like to thank all who contributed to the “Adopt a Bench” program to support the next phase of improvements to the Horner Park Dog Park. Your generous donations help to make progress on all planned improvements to the park and we could not do it without your support! Please note, there is still one bench “up for adoption” so if you or your community group would like to start off the New Year by supporting the Horner Park Dog Park by adopting a bench, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to thank all those who have supported the dog park through donations and volunteering. If you are interested in volunteering with the Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee, please reach out. Happy New Year to all!
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.
A big doggo thank you to Alderman Rossana Rodriguez and Alderman Matt Martin for their support of the dog park. With their help, we were able to send the final construction plans to the Chicago Park District. The estimated cost of completion of the dog park is $250,000 which includes: a water fountain, paved entryway, small dog area, water feature for cooling, turf play fields, benches, and landscaping among other improvements.
We have already raised $185,000 and are hoping to add $25,000 through the Participatory Budgeting process–so again, please vote! http://tinyurl.com/vote4dogs In addition, we plan on raising $30,000 more from offering honoree benches–stay tuned for exciting details!! and the remainder of the funding will come from generous donations from people like you. Please help make 2020 the year the dog park gets done. Here’s to no more mud!
Alderman Mell has supported the dog park throughout her tenure, both financially and with sweat equity as she stood beside us in helping the Park District re-imagine what a dog park could be and pushed them to keep things moving forward.
Without her efforts, we would not have completed the Phase I fencing project, nor would we have a Phase II teed up for build. We greatly appreciate all that she has done for the dog park, as well as for Horner Park and the ward as a whole.
The DFAC would like to thank her for her service to our community and wish her the best of luck in her next endeavors.