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Delayed by pandemic, Carbondale's first dog park is on track for summer opening with donor support

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Work is progressing on the Carbondale Dog Park in Parrish Park.

CARBONDALE — Leaders of a nonprofit behind the city’s first dog park say they are making progress, thanks to generous donors, including a local realtor group chipping in for much-needed amenities at the soon-to-be canine hotspot.

Jane Adams, executive board president for Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks, said the park will be 2 1/2 acres — the largest dog park in the region, and one of the only few with water fountains. 

It will on the west side of town, just behind Parrish School near the LIFE Community Center.

She said the Egyptian Board of Realtors granted the group $5,000 to put in two new frost-free dog watering stations — one on the large dog side and another on the small dog side. Adams said the units will be well crafted.

This puts the group one step closer to piecing together the park’s puzzle of infrastructure and features. Adams said a lot of the planned retail-based fundraising has been quashed by the pandemic restrictions but that several large, personal grants have helped push the park’s progress along.

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Ron Deedrick, local government affairs director for Illinois REALTORS, helped facilitate the grant. Deedrick said part of the money came from the national REALTORS organization while a smaller portion was matched by the local group. He said the money came from the Placemaking Grant program.

“We do that as a way just to build a little bit of goodwill in the community and help get out some of our advocacy ideas,” Deedrick said. “We like to try and get involved.”

He said a few members of the local chapter approached him about helping the dog park in late 2019. Eventually the FCDP specified an item it needed help with and Deedrick was able to release the funds.

Adams said COVID-19 has not only made fundraising hard, it’s also delayed projects and even raised costs. She said the fencing line item has increased about $10,000 since it was originally bid.

“There are real supply chain issues,” Adams said.

Adams said crews are expected to begin work soon on the park’s pavilion — the labor was donated by John A. Logan’s trade programs.

Other generous donors

She also said the local plumber’s union has donated the labor to install the watering stations and the City of Carbondale donated the water line. Adams said these kinds of tangible gifts have helped tremendously with making progress on the park.

Adams said the group has received numerous pro-bono services from other members of the community or businesses, including Asaturian Eaton for the surveying and engineer drawings, Thad Hechman for the concept drawings, Arthur Agency for our branding and designs for signage, and E.T. Simonds for gravel delivery and initial excavation.

Mark Mathis, of Mathis Excavation, helped with site prep, and the Laborers Union Apprenticeship Program helped installing the fence, she said.

The group also received grants from the Murphysboro and Carbondale Walmart locations, and donations from Indian Creek Kennel, Pure Pet, and Banterra Bank for benches.

Additionally, Glenn and Jo Poshard — and two anonymous donors — have made donations for naming rights to the pavilion and dog fields.

Adams said she's hopeful that the park could be open for visitors by summer.

Friends of Carbondale Dog Parks, a registered nonprofit, is working with the Carbondale Park District to maintain the park, which the district will own and insure. The FCDP was incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization in the spring of 2017.

The group's "wish list" can be found on Friends of Carbondale Dog Park's website https://cdaledogparks.org/donate/

isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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