Dog Park Vision

Horner Park MapIf We Build It, They Will Run! (and they ARE!)

As of November 2018, we have completed Phase I of the dog park. Phase I included erecting a perimeter fence with a double-gated entry encompassing approximately 30,000 square feet of land in the Southwest corner of Horner Park near the intersection of Irving Park and California. We are happy to report that the park is open and already well used with great enthusiasm. However, to meet Park District requirements and fulfill the vision for our dream dog park, we need additional funding.

Phase II (expected completion Spring 2021):

  • A small dog area will be created within the confines of the existing footprint of the dog park.  
  • Pavers will be laid in the entryway and a dog-friendly water fountain will be installed there as well.
  • Benches will be added for resting and chatting with fellow park users.
  • water feature will be constructed for the dogs to cool off and play.

Phase III (full funding still needed):

  • Canine turf play fields will be installed in both the small and large dog areas. The lead-free artificial turf designed for dogs that will be used does not have a black rubber pellet infill.
  • The trees within the dog park will remain, and mulch will be laid around them. Additional landscaping will be added to enhance the park’s aesthetics, including sturdy ornamental plantings, decorative rocks and stone borders.
  • Agility installations will be constructed for romping and extra fun!

**Please note that the Park District does not allow natural grass surfaces in any dog park. However, they have generously allowed us to use the dog park while we raise the funds to provide alternative surfacing. Leaving the park as is, is not an option per Park District policy, therefore rendering the grass surface temporary.**

Help us make Phase III a reality, so that we have a beautiful and functional safe space for our dogs!


The Horner Park Dog Friendly Area Committee will continue to report at monthly HPAC meetings.  Please email if you would like to serve on the committee or want to stay informed of volunteer opportunities. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

For your reference, see also the Chicago Park District’s Guidelines for Developing Dog Friendly Areas

This initiative is sponsored by the Horner Park Advisory Council Dog Friendly Area Committee, former Alderman Deb Mell and former Alderman Ameya Pawar.

A special thanks to Christy Webber Landscapes for donating their services to help us develop this design concept.


3 thoughts on “Dog Park Vision

  1. Is there a reason small dogs need to be sectioned off? Is it a requirement for DFA’s? I’ve always read it’s best to expose your dog to all kinds of dogs so they don’t develop any kind of fears. Most trainers I’ve seen have suggested if you *have* to separate to have “high energy” and “low energy” sections. I’d hate for my 15lb dog to be stuck in the kiddy pool when he could be racing greyhounds, haha.

    1. Not to worry, all dogs will still be welcomed in the “big dog” area. The small dog area is simply a space that smaller dogs who enjoy the company of smaller dogs may choose. This is not a requirement, but something that many people asked for during the design and planning stage. Understandably, some humans, though they may be owners of small dogs, are still intimidated by larger dogs. So this will provide a more comfortable space for them as well. We hope your 15 pounder enjoys the new space!

    2. In addition to other reply:

      Small dogs can also be accidentally hurt by larger dogs during play. Our dog is 10lbs, for example, if a 50lb dog collides with him while they are both running around he could be injured. He’s had is tail grabbed and pulled by a larger dog which resulted in it being sprained for a couple weeks.

      Some large dogs also are not great with small dogs and can confuse them with a prey animal (bunny, for example) or a stuffed toy. If a little bites a big, it’s not great, but likely not damaging. However, if a big bites a little, it could literally be life or death for the little. As we all know, the energy in a dog park can change in an instant. At the end of the day, you know you’re dog and how they play (some littles don’t like playing with littles!) and a small dog side gives people the choice to have safe play.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s