Those pet owners wanting to take their canine to a dog park won't have to go to Morton or Pekin to do so soon.

East Peoria will be getting its own dog park.

Those pet owners wanting to take their canine to a dog park won’t have to go to Morton or Pekin to do so soon.

East Peoria will be getting its own dog park.

According to Brad Smith, director of Fon du Lac Park District, plans are in the works. 

The dog park will be located at Brady Park along Cole Street where there are currently two baseball diamonds on about 6-7 acres of field area. One of the ball diamonds will be removed to accommodate the park.

“Basically, they’re just used for practice fields, and I don’t think they get much use for that,” Smith said.

In fact, Smith said the park’s softball program is nearly non-existent now. 

“It’s gone steadily down in the past 10-12 years,” he said. “I think everybody’s are down. Fifteen to 20 years ago, we had 130 some odd teams that played and we used five diamonds, and most of those were utilized every night, plus Sundays, and it got to the point over the last several years, we played maybe on Tuesdays and Sundays.”

Originally, the dog park was planned in a secluded corner of the park, but will now be more out in the open at the location. Smith said this decision was made to be more efficient.

“One, we can do a little bit larger development, and two, we already have a parking lot and I won’t have to build one. And I have water already to that location. We normally keep a portable restroom in that  location,” Smith said. “Those things wouldn’t have to be duplicated that way.”

Over the past few years, Smith said the park district has received phone calls from residents requesting a dog park. It is now in the park district’s capital budget for this year, with $25,000 planned.

“I don’t anticipate it costing that much,” Smith said.

The cost will come from fencing, two drinking fountains for the dogs, benches, signs, receptacles and dispensers that hold bags to pick up waste.

“There’s not a lot involved in developing a dog park,” Smith said. 

However, the park will not be fully developed for years as trees will also be planted at the site.

Ground will be broken for the dog park likely in July or August. Smith said there will be two areas, one for larger dogs and one for small dogs. The total area of the dog park will be about 300 by 350 feet.

The rules of the dog park will be similar to those at Morton’s Oakwood Dog Park. 

Someone, 16 or older, will have to be with the dog. 

“You have to police after your dog and clean up after your dog,” Smith said.

Other rules include having a dog off the leash once it’s in the fenced in area, not bringing a dog in heat, an aggressive dog or one that barks excessively.

The dog park will be open during daylight hours. 

“It will be a nice amenity,” Smith said. “I’m sure it will get a lot of use.”