Why a dog park could be headed to Island Lake

Responding to requests from residents, Island Lake officials are investigating creating the village's first dog park.

Public Works Director Brian Bartnick is eyeing a 2-acre site on the west side of Converse Park, which is on Route 176 at Converse Road.

A copse of dead ash trees stands on the land now. They need to be removed, Bartnick said, and it could be the perfect time to set up a canine-friendly play area.

"We can clear out the junk and get that cleaned up, and we can make a dog park out there," he said.

Healthy trees would remain, creating shade for people and their pets, Bartnick said.

A fence would be installed to separate the dog park from the rest of Converse Park, he said.

A cost estimate hasn't been determined.

Converse Park already features ball fields, playground equipment, trails, a picnic area and other public amenities.

It's about five miles west of the Lakewood Dog Park, which is at Route 176 and Fairfield Road near Wauconda and is maintained by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Visitors to the 66-acre Lakewood Dog Park must purchase annual or daily permits.

Bartnick said he knows Island Lake residents who drive to Lakewood so their dogs can roam there, and he's confident a similar - albeit smaller - park in town would be popular.

Bartnick announced his plan for the park during Thursday's village board meeting. Trustee Sandy Hartogh quickly voiced support for the project and suggested officials seek grants to help pay for the work, especially from pet food or pet supply companies that offer them.

Hartogh said people asked her about a village dog park last year as she campaigned for a seat on the board.

"The interest is definitely out there, and I'm so happy that Brian brought it to the table," she said.

Trustees took no action on the plan Thursday night.

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