The Fitzsimmons Family Dog Park in Wheeling is temporarily closed and locked after glass was found throughout the grounds Monday evening.
First thing Tuesday morning, city crews secured the facility until they can figure out the problem and fix it.
Jax, a boxer mix, is now on bedrest.
His owner, Lex Buell, of Wheeling, said the two-and-a-half year old dog tore up his paws during a romp at the park. Buell posted photos of Jax’s paws on Facebook Monday evening to warn other dog owners.
By morning, city crews had printed and put up the sign, closing the park while they get to the bottom of this.
“Last year prior to the dog park opening, the City put four inches of topsoil over the site because it was a previous demolition site of some sort,” said City Manager Bob Herron.
They suspect heavy rains in recent months, plus active use by dogs, has made the underlying material work its way up through the clean topsoil.
There is a theory circulating that it’s because this was the site of the Central Glass Works in the 1800s, but Public Works Director Rusty Jebbia said that this is not exactly true.
“There was a glass plant in East Wheeling, but it was more to the south of where the dog park area is. It was more around the 15th, 16th Street area,” said Jebbia.
But the dog park site has its own history.
There were old houses on the site, in what was called Goosetown.
The houses were torn down, back when regulations were unknown.
“A lot of times back then, they just dumped everything in the foundation and left it. It’s hard to say what they used to fill in those foundations. They could have used some glass at the time,” said Jebbia.
So the dog park is closed for the time being.
“But we’re gonna do an evaluation. We don’t want any dogs, any dog, to be injured at our dog park. And you know we take this very seriously and we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Herron.
Sadly, it’s now spring, when the dogs and their owners are chomping at the bit, but crews are working to resolve the issue.