Barrington-area leaders are starting an awareness campaign to get the Lake County Forest Preserve District to build a dog park on the village's border.
As envisioned by proponents, the doggy playground would be created in a section of the Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve in unincorporated Lake County, which connects to Citizens Park in Barrington.
Former Barrington Village President David F. Nelson, known for his community volunteerism since moving there in the early 1970s, said he'll do what he can to help land the dog park. He said Tuesday it's time for such a facility to serve Barrington and other towns in southern Lake County.
"I know it would be very popular in our area, and I can go to people to have fundraisers and make it happen," said Nelson, who retired as Cuba Township supervisor last year.
Nelson, who's on the board of the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves, said he expects private donations would be needed for dog park maintenance and operations. He said he's gained knowledge about the forest district through his work with the private, nonprofit foundation.
Barrington Park District Executive Director Teresa Jennings also backs the dog park idea. She said the park system and forest district have a history of working well together, such as when the Cuba Marsh preserve was connected to Citizens Park, near Northwest Highway and Lake Zurich Road.
To complete a trail between the properties a few months after Citizens Park opened in 2007, the park district contributed $100,000 and an anonymous donor secured by Nelson provided another $100,000 to the forest district for the roughly $1 million project.
Jennings said a similar funding model could be used to help the forest district create the dog space at Cuba Marsh.
"My goal is to get a campaign together of residents and support from everywhere, all the areas around southern Lake County, to get support for this dog park," she said.
Deer Park Village Trustee Greg Rusteberg sparked the dog park effort. He said residents had expressed interest in a dog facility in Deer Park, but his town's limitations led him late last year to Jennings and the bordering Barrington park system in an effort to build support for creating it at Cuba Marsh.
"It's just a natural spot to put something like that there," Rusteberg said.
Rusteberg said he accompanied Jennings for a dog park presentation last week before the Barrington Area Council of Governments. They hope formal support will come the organization's members, which include Barrington, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Tower Lakes, Barrington Hills, Cuba Township, North Barrington and Barrington Township.
Forest preserve district board members discussed the dog park at a committee meeting Monday, said Katherine Hamilton-Smith
the agency's director of public affairs and development. She said finance committee members will discuss Feb. 8 whether to further research the proposal.
Jennings said the trail between Citizens Park and Cuba Marsh already is popular with dog owners. A dog park would be the next step.
"We think there's a great need in this area," she said. "And there's been a lot of people asking for a place to have their dogs run."