Edwardsville's dogs could have a "better place to play" if the City Council approves the next phase of a new dog park Tuesday night.
According to the proposal offered to the Edwardsville City Council for vote Tuesday night, the future dog park will be located on Schwarz Street near Leon Corlew Park and would be constructed using synthetic turf specifically designed for dog spaces.
The project, according to the proposal, is in response to frequent resident requests for more dog-friendly spaces in the city. Currently the only off-leash dog park in the city is in Joe Glik Park near Dunlap Lake, which has its own Facebook page for frequent users.
The artificial turf will provide “a durable, ADA-compliant surface,” according to the proposal. The lowest bid for the “pet turf-bluegrass blend” was $84,000 including materials and labor. The artificial turf is the most expensive part of the dog park; the fence is $40,000, and equipment and amenities will cost $10,500.
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So why artificial turf?
“The biggest issue is though it’s not a very large dog park, it’s a small shaded area,” said project manager Katie Grable. “Our off-leash area at Glik Park is also small and shaded, and with dogs running around, we cannot keep the grass growing. It gets very muddy.”
Grable said the parks staff puts down mulch to try to keep the Glik dog park dry, but they anticipate a similar problem at the Schwarz park and wanted to get ahead of it. This particular artificial turf is designed specifically for pets, including pet-safe fill to combat odor, she said, but workers will still occasionally have to hose it down for cleanliness.
“I think this is the best solution for our park,” Grable said.
The new dog park will not be attached to Corlew Park, but it will be very close, a short walk down “a brand-new sidewalk” on Schwarz Street, Grable said.
The city has received two Madison County Park Enhancement Program grants of $133,155 each toward the development of a new playground at Vadalabene Park, an additional pavilion at Corlew Park, parking lot improvements and the dog park.
However, after the grant money, the city’s part in all of those projects combined will be less than $5,000, according to the proposal.
“We were able to do quite a lot with the grant money,” Grable said.
The Vadalabene playground needed to be replaced because it no longer met safety codes, Grable said.
“It had deteriorated over the years, and we had to remove it,” she said.
Meanwhile, other park improvements are underway. Restroom facilities are being constructed in Edwardsville City Park adjacent to the library, replacing the portable toilets that have been used at the park’s frequent festivals. Some projects are being funded by private donations, including $50,000 donated in September by the Speciale family. More fundraising is underway through A Better Place to Play, a nonprofit formed to raise support for the parks projects.
And planning continues for the eventual Plummer Family Park, a sports park with soccer and baseball fields and facilities for children with special needs. The project has been estimated at $3.67 million, to be funded with a combination of grants and private donations.
Up for vote this week was a contract for Crawford, Murphy & Tilly as consulting engineers to help design the project, and annexation of the Plummer Family Park property into the city limits. So far approximately $350,000 in private donations have been received toward the Plummer Family Park, with another $300,000 in an anticipated grant, Grable said.
“They will design the park, and that’s basically where we are,” Grable said. “This meeting will give us a better understanding what our next steps will be.”
The Edwardsville City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.