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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A section of downtown Anchorage will honor the sport of dog mushing, city officials and business groups announced.

The city, Greater Anchorage Inc. and the Anchorage Downtown Partnership announced plans Monday to name a stretch of Fourth Avenue the Anchorage Mushing District, KTVA-TV reported .

The project would include installing signs, banners, plaques and a steel truss arch marking the ceremonial start of the 1,000-mile (1,610 kilometer) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Officials also plan to create a Mushing Hall of Fame celebrating the champions of sled dog races.

“One of the important things every city needs is iconic architecture, iconic arts and things that are immediately identified with the identity of the city,” Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said. “We will do things to generate community pride and make sure people who visit our city have more reasons to stay here, which is extremely important for our economy.”

Officials plan to raise $45,000 to start the project. They will need about $650,000 to complete it. A committee plans to raise money in part through sponsored bronze dog paws and profiles that will placed on the sidewalk.

“We’re starting at zero funds,” said John McCleary, executive director of Greater Anchorage. “We need to have developed drawings and all the things the city needs for approvals.”

The area will serve as a tourist destination, introducing summer visitors of the city to mushing, McCleary said.

“It’s an experience summer visitors never get, and we’re going to try and tell the story,” McCleary said.

Officials aim to complete the project’s first phase in 2021. Future phases could include adding bronze statues of mushing greats.


Information from: KTVA-TV,