New signs will soon be erected at Turtle Park, Patriots Park, Harrington Park and Blythe Park tot lots. These signs state, “No Dogs Allowed in Tot Lot/Village Ordinance 638 sec. 44.09.” New signs will also be placed at baseball fields and tennis courts reminding residents that dogs are prohibited in these recreational areas. These signs are a product of the Parks and Recreation Commission’s desire to keep our most vulnerable residents safe and to promote a pleasant park experience for everyone.

During the past year, parks and recreation commissioners have researched, studied, brainstormed and debated how best to raise awareness of sections A, B, and D within the 638 ordinance. These sections are entitled, “Dogs At Large” (dogs without a leash); “Dog Not Permitted in Play Area, Public Parks”; and “Control and Removal of Dog Litter, Penalty.”

Being mindful of the off-leash dog restrictions in Riverside and Cook County, the Parks and Recreation Commission has been exploring opportunities for a dog park. This continues to be an active project. The Parks and Recreation Commission remains connected to this project and will remain with the project until the establishment of a stewardship group is finalized.

The presence of dog excrement in our parks continues to be a problem. Although the Parks and Recreation Commission explored this subject at great length, the only answer to help with this problem was to continue to make the public aware of the importance of proper dog excrement disposal.

Tackling this ordinance has been a challenge for the Parks and Recreation Commission. Meetings concerning this ordinance have run between three and four hours. I’m proud to be in a commission with such caring and dynamic people. Their love and commitment to Riverside is evident. They continue to work their hardest to find ways to best utilize our parks, keep residents safe, and make everyone’s park experience enjoyable and memorable.

The Parks and Recreation Commission wants to hear ideas and concerns from the community. Parks and Recreation Commission meetings take place at the Water Tower every fourth Monday at 7 p.m. The participation of residents is vital to the innovation and continuation of Riverside’s outstanding programs, parks and recreation.

Susan Casey, chairwoman
Riverside Parks and Recreation Commission