Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dog Lovers Of Uptown Unite!

A reader alerted us to "Puptown," a website dedicated to the dog-friendly area in Uptown's Margate Park. Check out the link here. We will also add a link for future reference off on the right.


  1. There's a petition going around (I signed it at the CPNA meeting this weekend) asking for a dog park in Clarendon Park, in addition to the one at Margate Park.

    Seems area with dog parks are cleaner and have less crime. Who knew?

  2. There was one several years ago also. We wanted it where the tennis court, that is rarely used, is now located.

    It is needed because the Mayor's staffer who lived at 3950 N LSD and had total control over the original bike path design drove all local users out of Lincoln Park from Grace to Montrose. Despite our protests, he moved the golf course fence west until it was within 1 1/2 feet of the Lakefront Path, assuring that there was no park space that would attract persons to cross the "Bike raceway". It also because the death trap for persons who could not get strollers and pets off the path to avoid "Lance Armstrong" wannabees.

    All that is left for community use in this area is the parkway that state law requires next to a State Highway (Lake Shore Drive. We demanded a received guardrails to stop cars accidents from flying off the road into the park and parkgoers, but this is no longer a safe area for pets and children. (Just as the Mayor's bike path designer desired to get rid of those pesky locals who interfere with the bike raceway through our neighborhood.)

    None of this complies with the Lakefront Protection Ordinance. The Lakefront Protection Ordinance is a zoning ordinance that allowed incredibly dense highrise construction adjacent to the lake in exchange for city zoning assurance that open space would always be available to those residents in the park across the street.

    There is supposed to be Lake access every 1/4 mile or park space if that is not possible. Here we only have chain link fence, a bike raceway, and a required shoulder to a state highway. The city's response to our objection is "You can see the golf course park, so it doesn't matter if you can't access it."

  3. The park issue you can develop from this is that our community is greatly underserved with green space and park services.

    There is a city study that counts the amount of open space (green space) in each community. Uptown has always lacked adequate green space and parks and the city and Shiller know it. Nevertheless, they give our land away. And, our Clarendon Park is virtually sold each summer to commercial sports organizers that service sport teams from Lincoln Park instead of our own community. This is not the role of a local park.

    Go out to our ballfields in Clarendon Park and look at the signs that say that no one can use the fields unless they are a registered sport team. Our kids used to play there. Not any more.

    Operating as a citywide resourse is the role of Margate Park (north of Lawrence) and it's Fieldhouse, which are park of Lincoln Park. But, the Margate Park fieldhouse operates more like a local park for the 48th Ward.

    The 46th Ward and 48th Ward park roles have been switched and we're getting screwed. And both Aldermen know this is happening and let it happen.

  4. Clarendon Park is going through the initial stages of an complete assessment with the CPD, architects and residents.

    This includes the fieldhouse issues from the decaying water problems inside, to does the building really serve our needs?

    How we use/organize the outdoor space is also being discussed with the steering committee made up of a cross-section of Uptown folks.

    The goal is simple yet totally encompassing: To improve our Clarendon Park indoor/outdoor park facility so it serves the broadest range of community resident needs.

    The initial Clarendon Park framework plan will be shared with residents and open for discussion in the near future.

    IF we are going make Clarendon Park a showcase for how a park can truly serve our community, then we need people to actively get involved.

    Start by joining your block club, this is an important way for us to communicate with residents on Clarendon Park. Flyers and building managers will also be contacted for those who don't have Internet access.

    Parks and open spaces are the lifeblood of a healty community. Imagine what Clarendon Park can be with a little help from you.

    Clarendon Park can be showcase, it will take people and lots of money to make this a reality.
    Katharine Boyda
    Clarendon Park LAC President.

  5. Cleanup after your dog.

  6. Anonymous 10:50 AM said: "We wanted it where the tennis court, that is rarely used, is located."
    Every time I've tried to play tennis here on a summer weekend, I've had to wait because the courts are full.

    Anonymous 10:59 AM said: "But, the Margate Park fieldhouse operates more like a local park for the 48th Ward."
    That's because the Margate Park fieldhouse is IN the 48th Ward.

  7. Both Margate and Clarendon Park are heavily used by people living outside the neighborhood.

    Why? We have the fields for soccer and baseball that many neighborhoods lack.

    Go over to Margate or Clarendon on the weekend. Margate is all the white kids playing soccer. Clarendon is all the white social groups playing baseball.

    Go over to Lincoln Park at Montrose and its hundreds of Hispanics playing soccer. Familiies everywhere. Only wish they weren't such heavy litterers.

    Is this a bad thing? Or is it a good thing? Depends on who you're talking with.

  8. Ms. Boyda,

    How do we get involved with the Clarendon Park planning? Is there anything we can do to become a part of the process now or do we wait for input? I like the idea of a dog park in Clarendon Park along with a better community serving fieldhouse.

  9. The community will have a voice in the Clarendon Park planning process. Please reread my earlier posting about where we are in the process.

    When we've completed the initial phase, residents will have an opportunity to participate.

    I've lived in Uptown long enough to know how frustrating it is to not be allowed a voice in community planning.

    If you want to be notified about upcoming Clarendon Park community meetings, please join your block club and they will send out the information. Will also let UU know when we have a meeting set.
    Katharine Boyda

  10. "Go over to Margate or Clarendon on the weekend. Margate is all the white kids playing soccer. Clarendon is all the white social groups playing baseball."

    I am an Uptown resident and have played softball at Clarendon park since 2004. This park was one of the reasons I was drawn to Uptown as a great place to buy my condo. And yes, I'm one of those terrible- white-condo-owning-softball players you're talking about. I guarantee you these parks are a positive for the neighborhood, as my teammate also just purchased a condo on Buena.

    As far as the "bike raceway", that's pretty funny, as I know that it has become quite a asset to the bikers. However, there are also runners, rollerbladers, walkers, and dogs that enjoy the path every time I'm on it.

    Seriously, Uptown has some problems, but the Lakeshore path is not one of them. It is one of the gems of our community. Hopefully it will stop raining so I can go for a run with my pup.

  11. You don't understand. Margate Park is not a local park or a local fieldhouse for the 48th Ward. It is part of Lincoln Park whose purpose is for citywide use.

    There is a big difference between whether a park is dedicated to serve the local community or whether it is supposed to serve the city.

    The difference is in how much voice the local community has in the operations of that park and what type of programming goes into that park.

    You can't have much influence on what events the Park District schedules East of Lake Shore Drive, unless you join or attend the Lincoln Park Advisory Council. You can influence what goes into your local park in your own community because it is your local park.

  12. I see Katherine Boyda put a post above. FYI, she is the woman responsible for getting the grant that created that great little garden across from Twin Towers on the North West side of Clarendon Park. I see seniors and others sitting out there all the time.

    Great work Katherine. (and other than that I have no idea who you are!)

  13. The fact that people might enjoy the Lakefront path for biking does not change the fact that there are 10,000 people across the street in highrises that do not have park space across from their homes as required by the Lakefront Protection Act zoning law.

    Those highrises could not have been built to such density and without surrounding green space for their tenants without that zoning ordiance compromise and now it is being ignored by the Park District. That's not right.

  14. Does anyone even know we have a Park District community pool at Joan Arai (now Uplift) school at 900 West Wilson?

    Does anyone know why the Park District does not promote this great feature more? Has anyone on this blog used the pool?

  15. Both Margate and Clarendon Park are heavily used by people living outside the neighborhood.

    This is true. Wouldn't it be nice if these groups would take public transportation to get here? Wouldn't it be nice if parents would feel it safe to take their kids a block or two west to get an ice cream or grab some lunch with friends after the event? Instead, they hop back into their very expensive cars and go elsewhere in the city.

    I don't mind sharing this public space at all. However, I wish that the fact that we have it here would turn into more pedestrian-friendly foot traffic in the neighborhood and increased economic revitalization. I'd bet you a cold drink at Crew that most people who come to the parks on the weekends either don't know what we have to offer or aren't willing to walk Wilson, Lawrence or Sheridan to find out.

  16. I'm curious about the pool at Uplift too, uptown gal. I discovered it on the park district website, but I've never gone.

    I also take my toddler to Margate Park on a regular basis - we usually walk across Uptown to get there (from Magnolia and Montrose). And we usually stop to look at the dogs at the dogpark on the way home. I think the parks in Uptown are better than those in Wrigleyville (where I used to live) and access to the lakefront is a huge reason why we moved to Uptown. The parks and the bike path are two of my favorite things about living in Chicago. Thank you to those who are working to make the parks even better!

  17. They just installed BIG orange signs on the walking / bike path on Marine Drive between Margate and the Dog Park to tell bikers to slow down.

  18. The main objections to the ballfields are the unshielded lights shining directly into the neighboring 3 flats and highrises. It really is obnoxious to put up stadium lights that shine directly across the street into someone's home. In fact, there is a city zoning ordinance that tells the Park District it must have community involvement before putting up the lights, but the park district ignores this regularly. They can shield the lights but never bother.

    The second major objection to the ballfields is that the addition of the lights have allowed the Park District to seriously overbook these fields so that there are night games almost every evening. Three fields = 6 baseball teams of 9 = 54 players + refs + friends.
    The city claims only 1/2 drive (I don't believe it) causing 30+ cars to need parking with no parking lot. And this does not include activities at the soccer field or fieldhouse.

    There are no public lots to service these ball players in that area. So, the Park District must cut back the ball games or add parking lots for Clarendon Park.