As one of more than a dozen homeowners and renters with dogs living in the Residences at the Grove, I’m trying to figure out why there are suddenly “No Dogs” signs on the vacant Altenheim property.

I had been in the habit, especially in bad weather, of walking my leashed dog around the perimeter of the Altenheim property. There were lots of squirrel and rabbit tracks for him to sniff and secure footing for me. (In contrast to the parking lot that leads to the bike path, which is notorious for black ice, and where I’ve taken some bad spills). I can’t for the life of me fathom why that is now no longer allowed.

I know there had been problems with dogs running there unleashed, but those problems seem to have ended several months ago with increased police surveillance. Even if those problems persisted, the solution would be vigorous enforcement of the leash laws, not barring law-abiding Forest Park residents from walking their leashed dogs on vacant public property.

One of our neighbors contacted Mr. Tim Gillian about this issue and received what was, frankly, a pretty incoherent answer, which suggested that dogs on leashes aren’t allowed anywhere in Forest Park except the dog park at Circle and Jackson. The dog park is a lovely place for unleashed dogs, but even if it were open at 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. when I have to walk my dog, I can’t imagine trying to walk a leashed dog around that small muddy space. He also suggested that since most of the people running their dogs illegally at the Altenheim property were from Oak Park and River Forest (Really? There was a survey?), it was no big deal to keep Forest Park residents, and in particular those of us who live directly across the street, from being able to walk our leashed dogs there.

My guess is that someone complained about the unleashed dogs and this was someone’s off-the-cuff “solution” to the complaint. There was certainly no public discussion that I was aware of. I hope that calmer heads can now prevail and the ban can be rescinded.

Ann Fisher
Forest Park