Buddy, Sparky, Fido and all other dogs can now run around for free at Rover’s Run Dog Park on 191st Street east of Center Avenue in Homewood.
The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District dropped the membership fee for use of Rover’s Run at the Jan. 16 meeting as a “change that would positively impact the dog owners of the community” and shift the money spent on the security system and staffing to other park services, according to Mike Gianatasio, superintendent of recreation.
The three-acre park allows dogs to run free. It has agility equipment, a walking path around the entire park and a special training area.
The dog park was opened in 2000. The park district has required dog owners to register showing their pet has updated shots. The annual fee was $30 for residents and $45 for nonresidents and $5 for each additional dog. The fee helps cover the cost of the electronic key fob to open the Rover’s Run gate and a specialty dog tag.
“Every week, staff goes to Rover’s Run to manually update the access,” Gianatasio informed park commissioners. “In addition, we do occasionally staff the dog park to ensure only members are using the facility.”
Gianatasio said the fee has generated approximately $3,700 the last four years, but the cost of the key fob has jumped over 40% in the past three years, and the minimum wage is creeping up each year as it nears the Illinois’s mandated $15 per hour minimum salary in 2025.
Despite dropping the fee, “Rover’s Run would still maintain its integrity as a dog park and staff would continue to maintain it regularly. Updates would be made to the facility, including benches and dog bag stations,” Gianatasio shared with the board. The dog park will continue its dawn to dusk hours and signs will be posted informing users of the rules and regulations of the dog park.