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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Edgewater’s Pet Mayor, Pax The Goat, Leads Effort To Raise Funds For Local Dog Park

The Edgewater Dog beach has suffered flooding after storms and is in need of repairs.

Daniel Zagotta, who owns Pax the Goat, introduces Edgewater's new pet mayor Sunday.
Pat Nabong/ Block Club Chicago
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EDGEWATER — Edgewater’s new pet mayor is following through on a campaign promise to lift up all of the neighborhood’s pets, including dogs. Pax the Goat (and his owners) are leading an effort to raise funds for the Edgewater Dog Park.

Pax the Goat beat out five other local pets to be crowned Pet Mayor of Edgewater in August. The contest was put on by the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, and was meant in part as a local fundraiser.

Those who voted in the pet mayor contest donated $1 per vote to Care for Real, an Edgewater-based charity that provides goods and services to the area’s needy residents, including pets. The fundraiser garnered $20,000 in donations to the group.

Pax’s owner, Daniel Zagotta, said he wasn’t as shocked by his goat’s win as by the amount raised for charity. So when Pax the Goat was crowned pet mayor of Edgewater, the Zagotta family and the other pet owners involved wanted to find a way to keep the donation momentum going.

“It blew us away,” Zagotta said of the fundraiser. “After we won, we wanted to figure out a way forward with it.”

Then came the early fall storms that battered the Far North Side’s lakeshore. Those same storms dumped a lot of rain and snow onto the Edgewater Dog Park, which was in need of repairs after the event, Zagotta said.

“When we have a lot of rain, it gets flooded out,” Zagotta said of the dog park. “It’s a lot of money [to fix].”

The Edgewater Dog Park opened along the lakefront trail at Bryn Mawr Avenue in 2017. Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) and the Parks District teamed to construct the new park after Edgewater’s previous dog-friendly park at Foster Beach was lost to a rising Lake Michigan.

Now, the same storms that are contributing to the rising lake are flooding the new dog park. Like virtually all public dog parks in Chicago, Edgewater’s was built by the city but is maintained by volunteers.

Edgewater neighbors have already tried to help the dog park. Earlier this month, volunteers spread mulch at the site, helping to dry up some of the park’s muddier areas.

The dog park, however, needs some landscaping to help stem the flooding, and it needs funds for clean up after storm events, Zagotta said.

So Zagotta decided to create a GoFundMe for the park, the Pax the Goat as the face of the operation. The “bi-paw-tisan” fundraiser is seeking to raise at least $2,500 for Edgewater’s dog park. The effort so far has raised $900 for the park.

Any funds left over after landscaping is done will be used to bring a water feature to the park, Zagotta said.

And while Pax the Goat is happy to raise funds for the dog park, the pet mayor will likely not be visiting his canine constituents at the facility.

“He is still a little annoyed by dogs,” Zagotta said with a laugh. “He’s a people goat.”

To give to the Edgewater Dog Park, click here.

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