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EUREKA - The City of Eureka might just let Lake Eureka Park go to the dogs.

The council's park committee is seeking public input on a proposal to create a dog park at Lake Eureka. The park, estimated at about $30,000 for a 3- to 5-acre area, would provide a place for dogs to get exercise by running without a leash.

Resident Charles Graack approached the council with the idea after visiting a Nashville dog park in April.

"It is a place where the dogs can run and socialize with other dogs," said Graack. "It is good for both people and their dogs. The people down there meet neighbors they didn't know they had."

The likely location for a park is in Lake Eureka Lower Park across the footbridge. It would include a fenced area with drinking fountains for both dogs and their owners as well a dog-potty area and trash cans. Other amenities could be added, such as plastic-bag dispensers for dog waste, park benches and portable outhouses.

Morton and Normal are among cities in the area to have a dog park.

Graack said owners are responsible for following park rules and ensuring a safe environment. Owners are required to pick up after their animals, keep pets on a leash while coming to the park and keep their pets' barking to a minimum.

No aggressive dogs or dogs in heat are allowed in the park.

Every dog reacts differently to the environment, said Graack. His dog was a bit apprehensive at first.

"Some dogs are friendly in that way, but he didn't know what to make of the idea," said Graack. "I think if we had gone back a second time, he probably would have enjoyed it more. He hasn't really socialized that much with other dogs."

Graack has already taken a informal poll while talking to people in town. "Out and about on walks I have been talking to people and most of the ones I've talked to are all for it," said Graack.

City Clerk Marilyn Walter said the park committee hasn't made any decisions about creating a dog park, but want to gauge the public's interest. To offer input, call (309) 467-2113.


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