The Fitchburg Dog Park is located on the city-owned land at the corner of South Fish Hatchery Road and Irish Lane in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
5564 Irish Lane
Fitchburg, WI 53711
The Fitchburg Dog Park site plan was approved by the City of Fitchburg Planning Commission on 3/21/17 and the Common Council on 3/28/17.
The dog park is located in a centralized location.
- To establish and maintain the first fenced-in, off-leash dog park in central Fitchburg where well-behaved canine citizens can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property or wildlife.
- To manage a beautiful, well-maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the dog park rules and regulations.
- To view this park as a community project, in partnership with the City of Fitchburg, designed to satisfy the ongoing needs of dog owners and non-dog owners alike.
- To raise and provide funding to match the City of Fitchburg’s monetary commitment.
Park Name Celebrates Local History
On March 14, 2017, the Fitchburg City Council voted unanimously for the park at the northeast corner of Irish Lane and Fish Hatchery Road to be named “Sunnyside Park.” The name celebrates Fitchburg’s rich agricultural history and honors the Wilke family who lived and worked in Fitchburg.
Fitchburg resident Maxine Wilke, age 95 in 2017, owned and operated the successful Sunnyside Hatchery with her husband Carl on the park land from the 1950s to 1990s. The Wilkes were also involved in The Fitchburg Club organizing community events. Maxine was in attendance with her grandson Chris Hammen at the Council Meeting when the name Sunnyside Park was approved.
- 21 parking spaces, including 2 accessible spots
- Accessible surface paths, made from recycled asphalt
- 5′ fencing – including double gate at entry
- Kiosk with sponsorship signage
- Waste bag stations, refuse and recycling cans
- Benches and picnic table for seating
- Tree plantings
- Bicycle rack
- Solar safety lights
- Fire hydrants (not connected)
- Rain garden and retention pond
Additional Features, as funds allow*
- Agility equipment
- Leash holder
- Hydration station / water fountain
* To support park updates and additional features, donate to FDPA.
As the FDPA worked with the City to establish the Dog Park, there were several articles
in the Fitchburg Star, including one in the summer of 2015 inviting interested residents to join the Fitchburg Dog Park Advocates. Meeting notices and updates were shared via
city meeting public notices (posted online and at City Hall) as well as announced on the
Facebook page, via email and on Nextdoor.
1. 2006 – City of Fitchburg Comprehensive Planning Survey reported that interest in a dog park was a top priority for the majority of respondents.
2. Mar 2009 – Once again, the City Comprehensive Plan Survey showed that a dog park was identified as the top priority by the largest number of respondents.
3. Jun 12, 2015 – Call for interested parties to form volunteer group to establish a dog park placed in Fitchburg Star by Dog Park visionary and FDPA founder, Jake Johnson.
a. Alder: interest in dog park growing.
4. Jul 8, 2015 – First volunteer meeting for long-term planning.
5. Jul 28, 2015 – Meeting between FDPA and City Parks Department to start process in partnership with the City of Fitchburg.
6. Jul 29, 2015 – City’s Comprehensive Improvement Plan (CIP) passes with $50,000 in the planning budget for a dog park in 2017.
7. Aug 24, 2015 – City Parks & Recreation survey on park uses (a dog park is an option).
8. Oct 24, 2015 – Tour of potential sites to evaluate location, size, accessibility, parking, land features and condition, year-round use, safety and more.
9. Nov 13, 2015 – Letters written to Fitchburg Star.
10. Feb 13, 2016 – FDPA meeting, fundraising kickoff
11. Mar 11, 2016 – Fitchburg Star press: Grass-roots group advocates for dog park
12. Mar 23, 2016 – The City’s 5-Year update from 2015 showed dog parks as one of the top most popular uses survey respondents would like to see in Fitchburg parks.
13. April 21, 2016 – FDPA hosts well-attended Informational Public Meeting/Open House.
14. April 27, 2016 – Committee of the Whole meeting with FDPA presentation and Q&A.
15. May 1, 2016 – Booth at Puppy Up! Madison 2-mile fundraising walk, McKee Park.
16. May 5, 2016 – Public comments invited at Parks Commission meeting with FDPA update.
17. May 13, 2016 – Fitchburg Star press: Fitchburg long overdue for dog park
18. July 12, 2016 – Fitchburg Common Council – Public Hearing, 50+ people show up to support the dog park.
19. Fall 2016 – Common Council approves CIP and funding for dog park in 2017.
20. Nov 22, 2016 – Common Council approves draft plan for Irish Lane site.
21. February 28, 2017 – Common Council approves final design, allowing engineering work to begin.
22. Mar 2, 2017 – Public plan hearing held by Parks Commission, site plan passed.
23. Mar 14, 2017 – Common Council approves “Sunnyside Park” name.
24. Mar 28, 2017 – Common Council approves site plan.
25. Apr 30, 2017 – Groundbreaking ceremony.
26. Dec 2017-Jun 2018 – Construction of dog park.
27. Jun 30, 2017 – Grand opening.