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Local News

Dog park, invasive species abatement on the docket for Forest Preserve District

District:sharp decrease in vandalism this quarter

The Forest Preserve District of Will County is set to approve a construction contract for improvements to the dog park at Hammel Woods in Joliet.
The Forest Preserve District of Will County is set to approve a construction contract for improvements to the dog park at Hammel Woods in Joliet.

JOLIET – In July, the Forest Preserve District of Will County gave the go-ahead to bid out dog park improvements at Hammel Woods in Joliet.

The Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners Operations Committee has now recommended the awarding of the $206,518 contract, which means the full board is likely to approve it Aug. 10.

The project includes 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. Hammel Woods was the first district preserve to have a dog park, but it’s the only one out of the existing six to not have a separate areas for small dogs and large dogs.

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,” Chief Operations Officer Ralph Schultz said in July. “We started to build [the other dog parks] with multiple cells.”

The Friends of the Forest Preserve District of Will County nonprofit group has a fund raising effort that may offset some of the project costs. The district is also pursuing grant funds through the PetSafe “Bark your Park” grant program.

The Operations Committee also positively recommended granting permission to bid out invasive species control at Goodenow Grove and Raccoon Grove Nature Preserves.

Forest preserve district staff prioritized over 430 acres for treatment of invasive species and burn management during the fall 2017 – spring 2018 season. According to district documents, much of the area is at a critical point for invasive species control to maintain habitat for rare and endangered species which are present on the site.

The project area includes a portion of Goodenow Grove that was impacted by ComEd utility maintenance activities and is being restored using funds provided by ComEd.

The estimated project cost is $178,000.

The most expensive project on the August agenda, though, is the installation of parking and trail improvements at Veterans Woods in Romeoville, The estimated cost for those improvements is $435,000.

In money-saving news, the district reported a 48 percent decrease in the second quarter of 2017 from the second quarter of 2016 in the total number of vandalism incidents and a 70 percent decrease in the total cost.

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