Jacksonville attempting to create an improved dog park

By Ryne Turke on March 4, 2015 at 7:07am

The city of Jacksonville is welcoming ideas from the public to build a new and improved dog park.

During Monday’s Parks and Lakes committee meeting, council members discussed several options which would provide the community with the best possible canine facility.

Jacksonville currently has a dog park, located in Veteran’s Park, but council members believe increasing the size of the park would bring in more visitors.

Paul Lonergan, who runs Lonergan Canine Academy, says a bigger park would allow dogs to get necessary exercise, give dog owners more time to spend with their pets and provide a huge boost to the Protecting Animal WelfaRe Society and the Morgan County Animal Shelter.

“Dogs are usually given away because they are too hyper, they have too much energy and people don’t know what they are getting into when they get them,” says Lonergan.

“This gives people a chance to take their dogs out and burn lots of energy. It also lets them get out and socialize with people and other dogs. Finally it cuts down on the number of dogs being turned into the Morgan County Shelter and PAWS.”

Longergan, who has 20 years of experience as a dog trainer, says the Veteran’s Park Dog Park needs to address the parking issues and become “bigger-dog friendly” to be successful.

Another option suggested by Longergan would be to build a dog park around some unused area near Nichols Park.

“There is a lot more area out there so people can get their dogs out there and run. It also backs up to Mauvaisterre Lake, so it would give you the opportunity to use that a lot more,” says Lonergan.

Alderman Steve Warmowski says he would love to hear the community’s input on this topic.

“We need to hear what people want and where they want it. There are options on the table and a lot of people would like to see something more than a grassy area, they want things that are tailored for them,” says Warmowski.

“I have a lot of friends who love their dogs and love going to dog parks to socialize with other people. The park in Jacksonville doesn’t satisfy that need. We need to see what the community wants to support and then actually do something.”

Anyone with ideas for the dog park can contact Warmowski at 245-4178 or dog@jaxfive.com.