Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

February 7, 2013

Effingham park board discusses plans for dog park, other projects

Nicole Dominique
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — A $500,000 bond ordinance will allow the Effingham Park District to take care of some upcoming projects this year.

The park commissioners accepted a bid from Midland States Bank at 0.79 percent interest after viewing bids from Washington Savings Bank, First National Bank of Dieterich and National Bank.

The bond will provide funds for the district to redo the asphalt road behind Community Park, install new playground equipment and work on the proposed dog park.

"We've gotten nothing but praise for wanting to put up a dog park," said Secretary and Director Jeff Althoff. "Since this was farmland, there will be a lot of preparation and ground work put into it."

He told the board about other dog parks the district had researched.

Champaign and Urbana charge a yearly membership fee for patrons to use their parks, but commissioners weren't eager to do the same.

"I don't really want to do anything like that," Althoff said.

A drawback to memberships is hiring a staff member to periodically check dogs in the park for proper tags.

Althoff told the board that he has a list of rules prepared for the dog park.

Owners will be required to pick up after their animals, and fences will be at least four feet tall as per state recommendations.

Even with the fences, though, Commissioner Russ Sehy expects park patrons to be watching their pets.

"We're going to have to spend some money and put up some trees" and a doggie fountain, Althoff said.

An out-of-service fire hydrant may also be donated from the city for the dogs' entertainment.

The board joked about naming the land Pickett Up Park, after retired board member Steve Pickett.

The district plans to finish the dog park by this fall.

The Community Park asphalt road is also an asset to Effingham.

"I think it's time," said Dr. Michael Sehy about the proposed project.

Vice-president Dennis Carie said the path is one of the most peaceful places in the city.

"You don't get that anywhere else in town," he said.

Also discussed was the Effingham Community Garden.

Registration for plots has begun, with at least six takers so far, and six more have taken registration packets home to peruse.

Carie is eager to involve schoolchildren in the garden.

"It's something to take hold, take root in them," he said.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.