Whenever the specter of a dog park raises its head in Riverside or Brookfield, it’s usually followed by enthusiastic support from dog owners, followed by angry condemnation, followed by everyone throwing their hands into the air and giving up.

In July, the Riverside Parks and Recreation Commission will introduce the topic for discussion at its monthly meeting. The problems are well known. Dog owners like to congregate of a Sunday in Swan Pond (when it’s not flooded) or over at Big Ball Park. The people like to socialize, perhaps as much as the dogs, which frolic merrily about in packs, darting here and there.

Dogs running about without leashes, however, frighten some people and have injured others (it happened last year to a woman who dislocated her knee trying to separate her dog from an unleashed dog).

Then there are the folks who use the enclosed tennis courts at Blythe Park for a dog running area. Apart from being a complete gross-out health hazard, the dogs are physically damaging the courts, which are darn expensive to resurface.

One possible dog park location that’s been floated is a triangular slice of village-owned land between the downtown train station and the commuter parking lot. Between the high-profile location, the fencing that would be needed and the, um, collateral issues that come with dog parks, that particular piece of land sounds problematic.

But this issue does deserve a frank discussion of what the issues are and what solutions there might be, whether it’s tougher enforcement or a separate park set aside for dogs. Other towns have figured this out. Riverside can, too.

Not dead yet

With the Fourth of July coming up and all, the loss of Brookfield’s Constitution Oak hits a little harder. The grand tree won’t be there to provide shade in Kiwanis Park during the annual July 4 picnic in the park – how many has that tree presided over? More than 100? We’ll have to get a firm number from Brookfield historian Chris Stach during the parade on July 4. The only thing left is a wood frame, a stump and a granite marker, more of a headstone now.

But all is not lost. The Brookfield Public Works Department gathered up what it could of the mighty white oak and has the remains in storage. Word is the village is going to be actively seeking possible uses for the wood of the Constitution Oak.

Have any ideas? Pass them along to us via the comments after our story on the loss of the tree, Landmark editor Bob Uphues at, via Twitter @RBLandmark or through our new Facebook page at and we’ll publish them in the paper.

Be sure to include your name, address and phone number for verification.