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Downtown Fort Dodge benefits from grant funds

More than $1 million has been awarded

Downtown Fort Dodge is undergoing a gradual transformation and timely state grants are fueling the process.

It began in 2019, when a Challenge Grant was awarded to help pay for remodeling a building at 13 N. 11th St. to become the new home of Yummy Crumb Bakery. That project is nearly done, and Fort Dodge residents will soon have a new place to get fresh-baked goodies.

The following year, a $500,000 grant was awarded to help pay for fixing up the exteriors of buildings in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Central Avenue.

The work on those facades was barely finished when about a month ago, the state awarded Fort Dodge another $500,000 grant from the same Community Development Block Grant program managed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. That money will be used to help finance more building facade overhauls. It is targeted to the 700 through 900 blocks of Central Avenue and the adjacent side streets. The north side of the 800 block of First Avenue South is also in the target area.

And the good news on the grant front keeps on coming. About a week ago, Main Street Iowa awarded the community another Challenge Grant of $75,000.

That grant is to help pay for renovating a building at 1109 Central Ave. When completed, that building will have a shop called K.D.’s Over the Moon on the first floor and a total of six apartments on the second and third floors.

Over about three years, a little more than $1 million worth of state grant money has been channeled into our downtown. That is impressive.

It is good that the state officials who oversee these grant programs have confidence that the money will be spent well in Fort Dodge.

It is also good that the owners of these downtown buildings are willing to invest in them. The grants only pay for a portion of the work. The property owners have to come up with the rest of the money.

The combination of public and private investment now occurring in downtown Fort Dodge will make it an attractive place for decades to come.

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