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Fort Dodge gets grant for second facade project

Months after a handful of downtown Fort Dodge buildings got a fresh new look thanks to a state grant-funded program, a similar project is poised to begin.

A $500,000was awarded to the city government and Main Street Fort Dodge on Wednesday to finance a second facade improvement effort.

The money came from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, which gave the city a similar grant about two years ago. That grant helped to pay for upgrading the exteriors of several buildings on the east end of downtown.

”It’s exciting to continue the progress that our city, Main Street Fort Dodge, and our downtown businesses have been working on for the last several years,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said.

He said the progress is ”visible for our community to see.”

The award of the latest grant came shortly after the last grant-funded project wrapped up.

”I think it shows that the state recognizes that we’ve wisely invested that money and created a return on investment on those tax dollars,” Bemrich said.

He said state officials know that Fort Dodge is ”easy to trust with those funds.”

When the City Council applied for the grant in August, it indicated that the money would be 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 was also in the proposed target area.

The city government will contribute $250,000 to the effort.

Property owners who participate will collectively contribute another $250,000.

Bemrich said he would like to see eligible property owners notified right away.

”The state doesn’t give us these kinds of funds to sit on them,” he said.

Work on the previous facade project concluded last spring. It addressed buildings housing businesses such as Harty’s Caddy Shack Cafe, Little Joe’s Computers, Fireside Lounge, Brass Monkey and Mary Kay’s Gifts and Home Decor.

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