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:

  • A small dog area will be created within the confines of the existing footprint of the dog park.
  • 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 has a sand rather than black 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. None of the park’s current concrete walking paths or other park amenities will be disturbed.
  • 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.
  • Funding permitting, a water feature and agility installations will be constructed for the dogs to cool off and play.

**Please note that the Park District does not allow natural grass surfaces in any dog park. However, they have generously allowed us 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 II 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, Alderman Deb Mell and Alderman Ameya Pawar.

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


16 thoughts on “Dog Park Vision

  1. It would be helpful if this website included the following information:

    1. The amount of money spent so far, and how it was spent
    2. The cost of what still needs to be done, and what still needs to be done

    Thank you.

    • We’ve spent token amounts of cash donations on operations such as hosting this website, photocopies, etc. What needs to be done is still basically “everything,” which we won’t have a solid accounting of until we raise $150k and the Parks Department begins designing the park. Unfortunately it’s a chicken/egg situation.

      • Quick question, have you been given a cost number yet? In our area, we were told by the aldreman that the appx initial cost would be around $700K-$900K of hard money and not pledged money. The size we are looking at is about 1/3 the size of your projected area. then, there also would be the 3 years budget of maintenance. Just seeing if we are getting a smoke screen.

      • We haven’t been given numbers yet because we don’t have a set design. The Parks District is estimating at least $300k, but a lot will depend on our materials. Your cost estimate seems very high, I can’t imagine us going over $500k for nearly one acre without adding a lot of fancy features.

  2. I was walking my dog in the neighborhood and a woman walking by with a “I love my rescue” shirt told me 1) that this project existed and 2) that there was enough money to complete this project suddenly.

    I’m curious what the need is? I’ve been taking my dog to horner park to play with other dogs in the big open grassy area for maybe 6 months? I bring a portable bowl and a half gallon of water. Everyones friendly, the dogs roam, meet people, theres a natural interaction. Its sunny and theres enough space to keep the dogs off leash away from the edge where people/dogs are on leash. A fellow there with a very old dog mentioned he’d been coming there for 10 years.

    This new thing is 1) fenced, segregated/isolated from the rest. 2) not real grass. 3) smaller.

    “Of course, you and your pet would still be welcome to walk in the rest of the park as usual too.” Thats good then?

    Am I missing something? Do all the baseball diamonds fill up in the summer and theres no room? Why fix what doesnt seem broken?

    • I’m sorry I just read the FAQ. Please disregard this, feel free to delete both. Instead of a large field of grass and friendly relations with cops, you’re suggesting 100K dollars + project, permits, fees and fake everything. To be… “legal.”

    • I’m glad the FAQ addressed your concerns 🙂 The park gets very crowded in the summer, and many of us have dogs that can’t be trusted not to run away off-leash if a squirrel grabs their attention. Since we are using park land, we have to follow the CPD rules for building dog parks.

      The sudden windfall of money was for the riverfront restoration project that the Army Corps of Engineers is doing.

  3. so much nonsense when dealing with the city that things become not worth it. The burbs have better options and treat the community better. I would rather drive to the burbs and spend my money there.

      • An actual campaign could be FAR more effective, I think, than the buried paypal donation page on the Horner Park site. For example: … with one of these types of sites ( is another), you can tell your story in more detail, have a dedicated page for donations, include pix and video, people can choose to list their names as one of the donations, it’s very easy to share the page with social media, and so on. Please consider setting this up, I’d be happy to help publicize it on neighborhood social media venues!

      • The rules might have changed since the last time I looked but the things that have kept us off Kickstarter are a prohibition on nonprofits and that the project must reach their goal before the funds are dispersed. Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and indiegogo take a cut from the money raised, another reason we’ve stuck with PayPal since most of our donations are $10-$50. We’ll definitely check out those links though!

        p.s. I love your InDesign tutorials!!!

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