Dog park proponents take plans to City Council Monday

Submitted by Amy Gage

The City of Northfield and Canines at Play (CAP), a volunteer organization dedicated to bringing off-leash dog parks to Northfield, have finalized a development agreement that would locate the first off-leash dog park at Babcock Park in Northfield.

CAP Board Chairman Rich Lorang, a veterinarian who runs Countryside Animal Hospital in Dundas, and CAP board member Rick Estenson, an executive with First National Bank in Northfield, will present the agreement to the Northfield City Council on Monday, Sept. 11.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in City Hall council chambers, Washington and Ninth streets.

Babcock Park is located on the northwest corner of Highway 3 and Woodley Street, just north of Southgate Cinema and adjacent to the outdoor hockey rink and the Defeat of Jesse James Days (DJJD) rodeo grounds. The proposed dog-park site has 1.4 acres along the Cannon River, with fencing and a separate area for small-breed dogs, should their owners prefer to keep them segregated.

CAP board member Blair Fowler said that startup costs would be low at the proposed Babcock Park site and that much of the work could be accomplished with volunteer labor. The board currently has raised $2,800 for the project, which has a $10,000 goal. A fund-raising event, “Bark in the Park,” will be Sunday, Sept. 17, at Riverside Park in Northfield from noon to 4 p.m.

After reviewing about a dozen locations around town, Lorang said the Babcock Park site is ideal for a number of reasons, including its central location, availability of parking and accessibility via a biking and walking trail. The park also is under-used, he said, except during the annual DJJD celebration in September.

The Northfield Rotary Club is collaborating on the project as well.

The proposed dog park would be closed for about a month each summer to avoid any conflicts with the DJJD rodeo, Estenson said. For more information, visit

Amy Gage is a member of CAP. The canines pictured here participated in a recent CAP event and, we presume, support the new park.