JOLIET – The Forest Preserve District of Will County will expand its popular Hammel Woods dog park.
The forest preserve board on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to bid out the approximately $127,000 project that will include construction of an additional 2.3-acre small dog play area, a shade shelter and a drinking fountain that can serve the preserve's campground and trail users.
The district has six dog parks at preserves across the count.
Hammel Woods – home of the first dog park the district built – is still a “one cell” dog park, meaning dogs of all sizes mingle in one area. The additional space will allow people to keep dogs under 35 pounds in a new smaller dog section.
“And people with small dogs will still be able to go into the other area, if they want,” Schultz said, noting that dogs, regardless of size, can sometimes have disputes with each other.
The expansion is expected to be completed by spring 2018.
The Hammel Woods dog park, off of Black Road, was designed in 2006-07 with the idea that if dog parks didn’t take off or that particular park wasn’t popular, the district could remove the fences and return the land to its previous form as a grove.
“Then the dog park trend took off, and people really liked them,” Schultz said. “We started to build [the other dog parks] with multiple cells.”
The Hammel Woods project is likely to be awarded to a contractor in August, and the new dog park area is expected to be open next spring at the latest, Schultz said.
Additionally, The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of Will County nonprofit is developing a fund raising program to provide supplemental funds for some of the improvements. Grant funds are also being pursued through the PetSafe “Bark your Park” grant program.