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Streator dog park partially opens this weekend

Streator Hardscrabble Lions Club Chairwoman Donna Mikolajczyk pulls out the inaugural poop bag while she and fellow Hardscrabble members Bud Wahl (center) and Jim Olmsted install the waste station in the Streator Hardscrabble Lions Dog Park, Friday morning. Portions of the park are open this weekend.
Streator Hardscrabble Lions Club Chairwoman Donna Mikolajczyk pulls out the inaugural poop bag while she and fellow Hardscrabble members Bud Wahl (center) and Jim Olmsted install the waste station in the Streator Hardscrabble Lions Dog Park, Friday morning. Portions of the park are open this weekend.

Those who have been begging for a dog park in Streator needn’t wait much longer.

Lions Club members braced for cold weather Thursday as they put the final touches on the fence and signs and planted bag and trash receptacles at the Lions Club Dog Park at the James Street Recreational Complex.

“We have people asking about it all the time,” said Donna Mikolajczyk, project chairwoman. Mikolajczyk said the large portion of the dog park will be open this weekend for dogs of all sizes. Further work is needed for a full opening, including the addition of concrete slabs under the shelter, a water line and water fountain for the dogs. The small dog park portion will be closed until work is complete in the spring due to the mud.

Until then, all dogs are welcome to take advantage of the larger fenced area, also complete with waste glove receptacles and trash cans.

The park was initially set to be placed on the west side of Oakland Park, but was moved after concerns from neighbors. The club has planted trees in the park after the city removed some that had fallen over, which was one of the reasons it originally chose the first location.

“This will be great too,” Mikolajczyk said. “Trees will be up, it’s out in the sun, you can see it from Illinois Street and a lot of people come to James for the games.”

Mikolajczyk said she’s looking forward to finally seeing dog owners utilize the space after the club came up with the idea in February 2016 as a project to celebrate the Lions' centennial celebration this year.

The roughly $23,000 project was helped in part due to donations from individuals such as Dr. Sue Schmitt of Countryside Animal Clinic and the Dieken Family Foundation, as well as from businesses for supplies.

Mikolajczyk sees the outpouring of support from the community as a sign the dog park is needed in the community.

“We had a lot of people donate $50, $100 and stuff like that to put it all together,” Mikolajczyk said. “We had a lot of support from the city and the people of Streator. It’s wonderful.”

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