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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 01 2010

Fargo Park District proposes dog park in Island Park

Downtown Fargo residents could soon have a new spot to take Spot.

Park District Commissioner Barb Johnson wants a dog park built for small dogs on the southwest corner of Island Park.

Facility Committee members agreed Wednesday to set a hearing on the issue at 6:30 p.m. April 19 to listen to any howls of protest or yips of delight from area residents.

The meeting will be at Park District offices in the Depot building, 701 Main Ave. Nearby residents will be contacted by letter, district Executive Director Roger Gress said.

“I just feel like it would make the park complete. That’s our central park,” Johnson said.

“The reality is, if we don’t have one central spot, those dogs are everywhere in the park,” she said, adding she’s gotten mostly good feedback on the idea.

The fenced park, a little smaller than a half acre, would have water, bags for animal waste and trash cans.

“It will be very dog friendly … and makes the park cleaner,” Johnson said.

She said the site is little used, has no trees, and looks more like a boulevard than parkland.

Gress said the city’s dog parks are some of the most popular amenities, earning two paws up from users.

“Whether people want it down there, we’ll find that out at the meeting,” Gress said.

Gress said a dog park for large dogs requires two acres. If the city ever has enough baseball and softball diamonds, he said the two fields south of Island Park could potentially be converted to that use.

If the Island Park site gets roughed up by protests, a slightly larger site in Wildflower Park, just northeast of downtown on the south end of the Oak Grove area, may be considered, Johnson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583