Roaming with Rover
‘Barking Lot’ coming to downtown
A new barking lot is coming to downtown Fort Dodge.
No, not another parking lot. A barking lot.
The dog-friendly green space will welcome residents as they walk their pets along the east side of the downtown district starting this spring.
The “Barking Lot” will be located in the green space northwest of the roundabout at First Avenue South and 12th Street. The site is a project headed by Main Street Fort Dodge.
“Anybody who has a dog — especially if you live downtown — you can walk your dog there,” said Main Street Fort dodge Executive Director Kris Patrick.
Main Street FD is collaborating with the city of Fort Dodge and Fort Dodge Senior High for the project.
The Barking Lot is not going to be an off-leash dog park. With nearby busy streets, dogs will be required to be kept on a leash. Owners will also need to pick up after their pets. Doggie waste stations will be set up as well, to offer free disposable waste bags.
The city owns the lot the park will sit on, and FDSH students will provide public art for the barking lot. According to Patrick, FDSH industrial technology students are going to fabricate steel sculptures in the shape of dogs. The students are also going to sandblast a few retired fire hydrants donated by the Fort Dodge Fire Department, which will then be painted and decorated by FDSH art students.
The Barking Lot project dates back a couple of years, Patrick said. The COVID-19 pandemic “benched” the idea for a while.
“Now we’re back at it and are hoping that we can get everything created and installed before the end of the school year,” she said.
New trees and wisteria bushes have already been planted on the site.
“We are really trying to beautify that area, because sometimes the backs of those buildings aren’t aesthetically pleasing to the eye like a green space and sculpture would be,” Patrick said.
Main Street Fort Dodge is still planning the final design of the site, and is inviting community members to volunteer to help with the design. Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the doggie waste stations will be located at the Barking Lot, Patrick said. There will be two additional stations set up at popular dog-walking areas of downtown — the Ninth Street bus plaza and the City Square.
Collaborating with other community groups and organizations is paramount to reclaiming downtown to be a fun place to enjoy, Patrick said.
“I think placemaking is really at the heart of a vibrant downtown area,” she said. “And we could not do these placemaking efforts without the public-private partnerships that we have been able to establish. This collaboration is really why we’re seeing so many cool trends in the downtown lately.”