A civic agency and a property management company are collaborating to open an experimental dog park downtown.
The pop-up dog park is planned for the vacant 8,000-square-foot lot owned by Maplegrove Property Management at 210 Market Ave. SW, adjacent to Founder’s Brewing Co.
The site is directly across the street from 234 Market, a new mixed-use residential building that includes 235 apartments, as well as dog-friendly units, opened by Maplegrove in 2018.
Anticipated to open in May, the dog park will include six-foot fencing along the perimeter, waste bags and trash cans, planter boxes and dog-friendly woodchip ground cover and amenities.
The space will include two defined areas, one for small dogs and another for all dogs.
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., or DGRI, will maintain and operate the dog park, expecting pet owners to clean up after their dogs and care for the site.
The year-round park will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, approved up to $25,000 for the project.
The DDA hopes the project adds a new lifestyle amenity that appeals to and supports the growing number of downtown residents.
“Market research reveals more than 5,000 households own at least one dog in the 49503 zip code alone,” said Stephanie Wong, project manager, DGRI.
However, the city’s two dog parks are not walkable for downtown residents.
“Dog parks are a unique way to help build community by providing a hub for pets and their owners to gather,” Wong said. “They also help increase foot traffic and sidewalk activity and advance on our goal to steadily cultivate an increasingly vibrant, and dog-friendly, downtown.”
Since the lot is on private property, the owner may choose to develop it at some point. Until then, the partners wanted to find a way to use the underutilized area.
The partners will evaluate the experimental project’s performance after one year and then decide whether to extend the lease.
Photo: Courtesy Downtown Development Authority