What's Happening with Oswego's Proposed Dog Park?
Jun 30, 2016 05:43PM ● Published by Shannon Antinori
After nearly two years of fundraising, the Oswegoland Park District Park and Recreation Foundation has brought plans for an Oswego dog park to a halt.
Dubbed Fido Field, the village’s first off-leash dog park was originally slated to be built at Jaycee Park, 134 Saugatuck Road. Foundation chairwoman Rachelle Stoller said both financing and plans for the park’s location have hit a snag.
Despite fundraising efforts, including raffles, ornament sales and a push that made the project a finalist in the PetSafe Bark for YourPark competition, funding has fallen far short of the estimated $300,000 cost.
Stoller said just $1,980 has been donated for the effort in the last two years. She said Fido Field also snagged just 6,166 votes in the Bark for Your park competition – the second-lowest showing.
“One thing the foundation would have to look at is, is it a problem with people not knowing about it … or maybe is it that people are not interested?” she said. “We’re just trying to figure out how we go about raising $300,000.”
The temporary dog park at the park district’s annual PrairieFest was also absent this year. The temporary dog park was first offered in 2014 as a way to draw interest in the Fido Field project.
Oswegoland Park District Senior Planner Chad Feldotto said changes on the foundation board meant skipping the temporary park at this month’s PrairieFest.
“We decided not to have it this year since the board is in transition,” he said.
A new board has formed since the Fido Field project got under way, said Stoller. Four new members are in place, with plans to add three more.
Another issue plaguing the project is space for the park. The planned Fido Field site sits on land that is owned by ComEd. Organizers had hoped to work out a deal to secure right-of-way to build the dog park on the property.
“ComEd unfortunately decided they did not want to use the space for a dog park,” Stoller said.
That means it’s back to the drawing board for the foundation and Oswegoland Park District staff.
“We would rather raise the money (first) and then find the space, having the public support and funds behind the project,” Stoller said.
One ongoing fundraiser is the sale of engraved brick pavers at Hudson Crossing Park.
“The board is still fundraising through the brick program,” Stoller said.
Bricks can be purchased on the Oswegoland Park District website.
Despite the setbacks, Stoller said rumors that the project has been abandoned are false.
“It’s on hold, it’s not dead,” she said, adding that the money raised so far is still earmarked for the project. “I can assure you, it’s been a topic of discussion.”