If you’re a member of our Facebook page, you probably already know this, but we’re super excited to share that we’ve reach a huge milestone in building this dog park — the Chicago Park District has provided approval for our initial application! For anyone familiar with the process, this is the approval we needed to complete step 3 of 6 in establishing the park. In other words, a HUGE deal!
This allows us to move on to step 4, which is where we gather petitions, survey the site 12 times over a full year, confirm support from the community, and establish initial funds for building the park. What this means and how you can help:
- Petitions: We have already started collecting petitions from supportive neighbors. If you live within or nearby a 5 block radius of the park location we would really love your help in gathering petition signatures on your block. This is approximately bounded by Spaulding on the west (3300 W), North on the north (1600 N), Rockwell on the east (2600 W) and Iowa on the south (900 N). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you live around that area and can help with our petition drive. And while it’s the city that requires petitions be collected within that 5 block radius, we know that many of you live beyond that distance and want this dog park too, so we would absolutely love your support in signing the petition too! Boulevard Sports Lounge and Archie’s Iowa Rockwell Tavern have graciously agreed to keep petition forms there for you to drop by to sign, and we’ll have more news soon about other petition signing opportunities.
- Site Survey: We will visit the site location at least 12 times throughout a year, covering each season, to measure activity within and nearby the park. The goal here is to assess current usage of the site and verify that the park won’t negatively impact nearby areas. We can handle this part ourselves, but the important note for the community is that this really does require us to do this for all four seasons, which means we’re nearly a year from being able to move to the next stage to submit our formal written proposal. We have plenty of these other important planning efforts to keep us busy during that time though so we’ll use the time well.
- Fundraising: We have a huge fundraising effort ahead of us. We know we need at least $150k to build the park, and at least $100k more for initial maintenance funding. Our fundraising planning is underway now, including work to make donations deductible, and will be reaching out to community organizations we think can help. If you happen to be a member of a local business or have access to grant funding, please let us know if you can help with either cash or in-kind donations, or grants that may apply! This will be the biggest challenge so please contact us if you can help.
- Letters of Support: We’ve already made some great progress on this front thanks to the support of wonderful local community groups like the East Humboldt Park Neighborhood Association and United Blocks of Humboldt Park, Alderman Joe Moreno, and Boulevard Sports Lounge. We are speaking with many others and aim to get official support letters from as many as possible. If you happen to be a leader in a local organization that supports this cause, please write us a letter on behalf of the organization and email it to us. We’ve prepared this letter template to help get you started if you like.
- Public Neighborhood Meetings: We intend to hold at least 3 meetings over the next several months to share our latest plans and gather community feedback. Look for announcements here and on Facebook in about a month. If you’re not already part of the Facebook group, please join now!
It’s amazing to look back on the fact that we started this process back in summer 2016 and only 1.5 short years later (hah!) we’ve reached this point where we can finally really get moving with these next steps. We’re beyond excited and hope you are too!