Residents in the Jackson Park neighborhood on the South Side are pushing back against a proposal that would eliminate a popular dog park.
That park, known as “Jackson Bark” to residents, could be eliminated as a plan to expand a driving range at the Jackson Park Golf Course has been proposed.
The dog park, the only one in the area, has become beloved by residents, who appreciate the hand-crafted agility course that has been laid out on disused tennis courts at the park.
“There are 23 dog parks in the city, and none of them are on the South Side. What else can you say?,” Jackson Bark designer Todd Agosto said. “They need a place to play and socialize. We’re outperforming the rest of the dog parks (in the city).”
Agosto used his own funds and did most of the work to help create the dog agility course.
“People come here not only for the nature areas, but for the dog park,” Jackson Park Watch coordinator Brenda Nelms said. “It’s an emphasis on a sport for a few at the expense of services that a lot of other people use.”
The proposed plan, which is being assisted by golf superstar Tiger Woods, would combine the Jackson Park Golf Course with the South Shore Golf Course, and would expand a driving range near the course to more than 300 yards. The proposed plan would likely eliminate several tennis courts, the dog park, and picnic areas.
The Chicago Golf Alliance told DNAInfo that it’s committed to maintaining a mix of nature areas and golf links in the park. Meanwhile, the Chicago Park District said it plans to continue to hold outreach efforts and community meetings, but dates have not been set yet for more meetings to take place.
One meeting did take place on Tuesday night, and more than 200 residents showed up for the event that had a maximum capacity of 75, leading to some residents being turned away.