Frequently Asked Questions
What is a DFA?
A DFA is a Dog Friendly Area. This is a fenced-in space in the city where dogs can
play, run, and socialize off-leash. It is otherwise illegal to allow your dog to play
off-leash in a public area.
What is the process for obtaining a DFA?
The official manual for developing a Dog Friendly Area in the City of Chicago can be found here
How much will this cost and who pays for it?
The estimated cost of a DFA in 2013 was $150,000. However, we do anticipate it
being more costly than this.
The DFA Committee has to fundraise 100% of the funds for the design and construction of
the dog park. This includes ongoing fundraisers for repair/upkeep and cleaning supplies after the dog park is built. Therefore, no money for the park will be taken from programming intended for children or from the current park budgets.
After a park is built, only certain capital repairs (i.e., including sewer repair, fencing or gate
repairs) will come from the park budget.
Who is responsible for the park maintenance and cleaning?
The committee is responsible for ensuring that the park is clean.
In addition to monthly deep cleanings, which involve bleach and changing out of pea gravel,
replenishing bags, members of the DFA committee are required to clean up after
dogs/owners who haven’t done so on a daily basis. It is also up to the committee to remind
people who use the dog park to clean up after their dogs. Moreover, it is the role of the DFA
to remind people to clean up after their dogs and to get the proper license.
There are also 3-4 power washings of hard surfaces required per year.
Right now, without a DFA, users of the park with dogs who leave a mess put a burden on the
staff of the park and the volunteer members of the park advisory council, who clean the park
once monthly from spring to fall. Having a dog park with an active community will help
increase accountability for having the park cleaned more regularly.
Will the park have an area specifically for small dogs?
The committee is interested in bringing a Dog Friendly Area that users will love and
welcome into the neighborhood and. We have surveyed our supporters and will
analyze the result of this question, as well as others regarding the features of the future Dog Friendly Area. Our preliminary park designs will represent the majority answer, but ultimately the Park District will finalize and construct the Dog Friendly Area.
How can I help?
The McKinley Dog Park Committee is always seeking new active members! You can
follow us on our social media outlets, found in the “Contact” page. Donations are also
an excellent way to contribute to the cause.