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A park just for canines: DL council approves plans for dog park; will be open by summer

The old softball fields near Lakeshirts will soon become Detroit Lakes' first dog park; Public Works Director Brad Green says that work on the new park will be completed just in time for summer. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)

The City of Detroit Lakes is getting a dog park.

Plans for the new four-acre park were approved at Tuesday night's regular meeting of the Detroit Lakes City Council.

"It will be open by June 1 at the latest," says Public Works Director Brad Green, "although we're hoping it will be ready earlier than that. It's all weather dependent."

The old softball fields out by Lakeshirts will now be host to the city's four-legged denizens. The main access to the park will be off 10th Avenue, though Green said that there will be an access point on the other side as well.

The park will be completely enclosed by fencing; Green said that it will also be divided into two smaller areas, with one area designated specifically for small dogs, and the other for larger ones.

"We'll also have fresh water available," he added, noting that while it will be drinkable by humans, the intent is for dog use only.

Bags for animal waste and garbage disposal facilities will also be provided free of charge, though owners must pick up after their dogs themselves.

While the bases will be removed from the park and reused elsewhere, said Green, the surface will remain a combination of grass and gravel. "It will be mowed regularly," he added, noting that the city has continued to maintain the area for occasional recreational use even though the softball fields had not been used for games since 2015.

"Last year was the first time we did not use them at all," Green said, which is why the area was proposed as a potential site for the dog park.

"The Park Board identified a dog park as one of its highest priorities during a long-range planning session last August," said Green, "so we began talking about different sites."

The old softball fields became the No.1 potential site because they were already partially fenced and had been mowed regularly, so minimal work would need to be done to make the area canine-friendly.

"We're going to start small for now," said Green, though future improvements could include a park shelter, benches, handicap-accessible picnic tables, and possibly a small obstacle course.

"We've had some potential donors contact us," he added, noting that any benches, picnic tables or other improvements added to the park through donations would include a recognition plaque for the contributing organization, family or individual.

"Benches can be purchased for $700, and tables for $1,000," said Green, adding that they are available in five different colors, and would include the name "Detroit Lakes" embedded as part of the design.

Anyone who would like to make a contribution, or is interested in learning more about the dog park, is welcome to contact the Detroit Lakes Public Works Department at 218-846-7145 or send an email to

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454