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Dog Park

Josh Myers of Carbondale throws a ball for his dog, Grace, at the Murphysboro dog park in September 2016.

CARBONDALE — The wheels are in motion to get a new dog park built in Carbondale no later than spring 2018, according to a representative of the Carbondale Dog Park Planning Committee.

The group’s first public meeting, which was held Tuesday night at the Carbondale Civic Center, drew about 40 Carbondale-area residents, organizer Lorie Allen said.

“We were really happy with the turnout — it shows that there’s enough interest to do this thing,” Allen said.

Attendees discussed possible sites for the park, including a 2.8-acre empty field near Hickory Lodge and a former BMX park near Evergreen Park that consists of about 7 acres.

Possible design features and amenities were also up for discussion. Allen said the dream would be to build the sort of facility one might see in larger cities — places that attract runners and hikers and act as destinations in themselves.

“That would be our pie in the sky. That’s a grand thing,” Allen said.

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The range of amenities will largely depend on funding, but Allen said the park will accommodate small and large dogs and that it will likely incorporate some kind of water feature where dogs can play.

“My experience with dogs, with big groups of dogs, is you want them to come home tired,” Allen said. A water feature would allow dogs to cool off and keep playing for longer periods of time, she said.

The park will also incorporate benches and waste disposal, she said. Attendees discussed having dog training programs available at the facility, such as agility classes or puppy groups.

Allen said that the dog park will be a citizen-led project, but that the city has been supportive, as many city staff members have dogs themselves. The group plans to apply for grants with the assistance of the city.

To learn about upcoming meetings, visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/carbondaledogpark.

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janis.esch@thesouthern.com

618-351-5082

On Twitter: @janis_eschSI

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