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DeKalb Park District board mulling proposal for 2nd dog park

December 8, 2018 GMT

DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District Board still is considering whether the city needs another dog park.

The Park District recently acquired about 12 acres of land near the intersection of Barb Boulevard and First Street that it plans to add to Kiwanis Park, and board members are trying to decide what to do with it. Board members have been referring to the land as the Barb Boulevard site, and a second dog park, in addition to one at Katz Park, is one of the proposed uses for the property.

“The question the board needs to answer is this: Do we need two dog parks in town, one on each side of the tracks?” board President Phil Young said Friday. “I think that’s a valid question because Katz Park’s dog park has room to grow.”

Kiwanis Park, which is near Huntley Middle School, has been primarily used for soccer fields. The Barb Boulevard site is to the northwest and would be connected to the main park by a thin strip of land. The board heard an updated presentation on the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Park Master Plan on Thursday, which accounted for the additional land.

“One of the key things [about the Barb Boulevard site] was it had three different conceptual plans,” Young said. “Leave one of the baseball diamonds in and add basketball and tennis courts; have a big grass trail and a dog park utilizing one of the existing diamonds; or one large trail with one or two grass trails and lots of prairie.”

The Park District acquired the 12-acre stretch of land in April. Appraised at $216,000, the acquisition was part of a land swap and intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb School District 428, which in turn acquired the Park District’s 9.6-acre site at Cutler Drive and Bethany Road near Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School, appraised at $221,000.

Young said of the three proposed concepts for the Kiwanis Park extension, the board is leaning toward option No. 2, which would include a grass trail, a parking lot and a dog park. But board members still are unsure whether another dog park is needed after hearing Monday’s presentation, as well as concerns from residents who attended a Nov. 19 public comment meeting.

“We didn’t come to a consensus [Thursday] but asked a couple questions of [Park District] staff,” Young said. “So over the next month or two we’ll review and then have another public meeting in the spring.”

As it stands now, the approved Kiwanis Park Master Plan (not including the new land) calls for a flexible field layout featuring two large soccer fields, four medium-sized soccer fields, four small soccer fields and an artificial turf field to be used for soccer, lacrosse or rugby.

Additional amenities will include a nature playground, splash pad, challenge course, pickleball and basketball courts, a pavilion, fitness stations, picnic shelter, restroom and a woodland exploration area.

The board will plan for a vote on the 12-acre Barb Boulevard site sometime in 2019 after another public comment session in the spring. Young said the Park District did not yet have a funding source identified to develop the new park land.

“These plans we would set up, there is no time frame because there’s no money there. It could be three, five or 10 years from now,” he said. “The point is to get the plan in place for whenever we start to do development. This area on Barb Boulevard would be a lot less expensive to develop, so that might come into play first [before Kiwanis Park].”