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New energy resonates in downtown Fort Dodge

Investment, activity is increasing

Numbers tell an interesting and encouraging story about downtown Fort Dodge.

Kris Patrick, the executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, has lots of those numbers that show growth in several different ways that she can sum up in one sentence.

”There’s really a resurgence of developers wanting to be here,” she told the City Council recently.

Here’s a piece of evidence to support that statement: since January 2018 about $6.3 million has been invested in rehabilitating downtown buildings.

Want more proof of economic activity in the historic center of the city? Well, there are 208 businesses there. Overall, there are 1,299 people working downtown.

A growing number of people are living downtown as well. There are 509 people living downtown in 405 apartments.

Earlier this year, a facade improvement project, funded in part by a $500,000 grant, spruced up the outside of several buildings on the east end of downtown. Fueled by that success, city officials applied for and received another $500,000 state grant for a facade project farther west on Central Avenue. That project will address six buildings. Bids from contractors will be sought in January.

It seems clear that downtown Fort Dodge is becoming energized once again. Challenges, such as the Warden Plaza’s future, remain. But investors are willing to spend increasing amounts of money downtown, and more people are deciding to live there. These are positive trends.

Those trends are also a tribute to what is possible when local government and the private sector find ways to team up to accomplish common goals.


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