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Government

Elmhurst Park District approves dog park design concept

District officials say alternative funding likely required for park

Elmhurst Park District commissioner Carolyn Ubriaco remarks on the dog park master plan during the Board of Commissioners' Aug. 13 meeting at The Hub at Berens Park, 493 N. Oaklawn Ave., Elmhurst.
Elmhurst Park District commissioner Carolyn Ubriaco remarks on the dog park master plan during the Board of Commissioners' Aug. 13 meeting at The Hub at Berens Park, 493 N. Oaklawn Ave., Elmhurst.

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Park District Board of Commissioners approved a design for a potential dog park at 0S761 Old York Road with a 6-1 vote at its Aug. 13 meeting.

Following the discussion of a few options Upland Design presented to the community and district officials, project manager Liz Dafoe presented a master plan concept at the Aug. 13 meeting that was based largely off Concept B.

The dog park would include an enclosed water feature area, separate small dog and large dog areas, a shade structure, a walking path inside the fence, agility equipment and additional seating throughout the park.

"I think that what you've done is probably the optimal use of our footprint and our resources for a dog park. ... I like what you've brought to the table," commissioner Carolyn Ubriaco told Dafoe during the meeting.

The site on Old York Road is a 3.41-acre former trailer park with a 1,900-square-foot management office structure and 750-square-foot, two-car detached garage, Park District Director of Facilities Angela Ferrentino said in a July 23 email.

The property, which the Park District acquired, is in unincorporated DuPage County and touches the boundaries of the district, Executive Director Jim Rogers said in a phone interview Aug. 7. The surrounding area, the Yorkfield neighborhood, is not in the district, he said. The boundaries of the city of Elmhurst and Park District are not identical.

Rogers said at a meeting July 23 that the district is not looking to provide neighborhood access to the park, and he believes the district should not have Elmhurst residents driving into the neighborhood.

"It's this board's prerogative, but it's how much space and how much dollars do you want to put toward providing an amenity for nonresidents of the Elmhurst Park District who will not be funding that amenity?" Rogers said at the Aug. 13 meeting.

Upland Design provided cost estimates of $251,306.48 for removal of various aspects of the site, including clearing brush and dead trees and removing asphalt, concrete pavement and the building and shed currently on the site, along with $1.4 million in new construction costs, according to the master plan included in the board agenda packet.

Rogers said in an email Aug. 15 that Upland Design developed the cost estimates based on past work experiences, and they are budget numbers until the projects are let out for bid and have actual costs.

The district is developing its 2019 capital budget, and staff is determining if the district has funds available to complete the removals and site clearing, the first phase of the project, next year, he said.

The community had shown interest in a dog park in the Vision 2020 Community Needs Assessment survey.

With the cost estimate and the district's available funding levels to operate and maintain current district facilities, it is likely the district will require alternate sources of revenue to build the park or other new facilities and enhancements identified by the community in the Vision 2020 plan, Rogers said.

Those revenue sources could include partnerships, grants and a potential referendum, and until the funding is secured, the district is unable to say when the park might be constructed, he said.

Commissioner Doug Ennis voted against the plan.

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