The Maggie Daley Park dog ban pissed a lot of people off. Including me.
It was a sudden reversal, made in some murky politicking. It's more broken promises in Chicago. I keep trying to come up with scenarios of why the reversal--and they all imaginatively involve some rich person who hates dogs paying off the the Chicago Park District.
It feels like the city is shunning the area residents in favor of making yet a touristy destination. Which is bullshit, because dogs and tourists are not mutually exclusive ideas. Someone pointed out that Central Park in NYC allows dogs, and some my best photos from Central Park involves dogs in the scene. And it's so funny--Pepper has been adored and petted (and even photographed!) by a gazillion tourists this summer, so the idea of tourists being scared away by dogs is bizarre to me.
You know what we should ban from Maggie Daley Park instead? Canadian geese. Talk about animals that scare away tourists--and even residents. They're mean. They poop everywhere. And they attack you if you get too close to them while trying to get from point A to point B.
Or we should ban children. Children ruin grass with all their playing and frolicking and muddy shoes.
Or how about we ban tourists? It seems like visitors to the Chicago downtown parks ruin the grass every year, especially at spectacles like the doomed Chicago Fire Festival, which trampled the grass in the Vietnam Memorial area so badly it had to be replaced.
Which reminds me of another grass-ruining event. Lollapalooza, especially since it always seems to rain at least one day during Lolla, in which everyone turns the grass into a mudfest so they can take photos for Instagram to make their friends jealous.
Or the Blackhawks rally in Grant Park some years ago--trash and flat grass every-fuckin'-where. I was so pissed. People ruined our backyard because they were excited their team won the cup. Ban all future winning rallies from the parks!
Wait--we're not going to do those bans? Then why are we banning dogs, who cause far, far less damage?
The excuses seem to be all about the irresponsible dog owners, completely forgetting the 95% of us who ARE responsible. That's why I keep imagining some rich cranky old man paying off some city officials. It's the cranky people who see only the faults instead of the good things in groups of people.
I've been excited about the plans at Maggie Daley Park for a long time now--that area desperately needed a facelift, and the plans look great. The city kept promising that leashed dogs would be allowed, in large part because of the support of all the residents nearby, many of whom own at least one dog.
Also, when it opened, it would provide a path from River North/Lakeshore East to the rest of the park area south of Millennium Park without requiring major detours along the lakefront or through the thick throng of people (and tourists!) along Michigan Avenue, or the concrete-heavy land along Columbus. We've put up with the blocked off path it for quite a while, because we believed the Park District was working on behalf of the residents. And because we believed that since it was once a dog-friendly park, it should always be a dog-friendly park.
So when the city announced that the Millennium Park dog ban extended to Maggie Daley Park, (right before the skating ribbon opened--how convenient. They thought they could slip that one past us.) it pissed us all off.
It's more Chicago politics...but us downtown dog owners are fighting back.
We emailed Alderman Reilly and quickly learned that he's on our side. He said to call or email Tim Later, who is the Chief of Staff, Board of Comissioners, and to CC him on the emails. (Keep it straightforward and clean--no name-calling or insults.)
Reilly's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim's email and phone: email@example.com, 312.742.4733
There is also an online petition going around--please sign and add your comments!
And finally, there is supposed to be a rally of dog owners at Maggie Daley Park this Saturday, the 13th, at noon at the east-most entrance on Randolph Street to the park. Pepper and I won't be able to make it (sadness), but please go in my stead.
I hope we can make the city officials return Maggie Daley park back to its leashed-dog-friendly policy, and make officials honor their promises.
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