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Rules of McHenry dog park taking form

McHENRY – Park officials are shaping up rules and policies for the city’s new dog park, which is scheduled to be developed by summer.

The four-acre site, adjacent to Kohl’s on Route 31, would be McHenry’s first park for dogs to roam leash-free. Plans include an area for shade, on-site parking and a water fountain. Park hours will extend from 7 a.m. to dusk year-round.

Earlier this year, the McHenry Parks and Recreation Department worked with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Kohl’s Illinois on an agreement that allows the city to use a portion of the department store’s parking lot in the McHenry Towne Center, 2450 N. Richmond Road, for public access and parking.

In October, the City Council approved a $58,600 bid from Custom Built Commercial Fence to install the park’s fence.

The site’s design also separates the park into two spaces, one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs.

Dog owners will be required to buy an annual pass for access to the park. The parks department will require owners to provide paperwork, including proof of rabies and distemper vaccinations from a veterinarian’s office and the pet’s county tag number.

The park gate will have a system allowing only pass holders to enter. The pass fees for both city and noncity residents have not been determined.

Officials will invite the public to help name the dog park with a contest this winter. Details haven’t been finalized, but whoever sniffs out the best name for the park will win a free annual pass.

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