FD wins grant for trail planning

House notable for its paint color will be torn down

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea This vacant house at 615 Third Ave. N.W. which became known for its purple paint job will be torn down. The City Council on Monday hired Russ’s Construction of Fort Dodge to demolish the building for $7,453.

Planning for future trails in and around Fort Dodge has received a $75,000 boost.

The Wellmark Foundation has awarded the city a grant in that amount to pay for developing a comprehensive bicycle, pedestrian and trail plan. The money will also be used to create a trailhead with parking at the Hawkeye Avenue end of Loomis Park.

The City Council on Monday voted to accept the grant. Councilman Terry Moehnke was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote.

“Ultimately, the plan will establish where future trail development should be prioritized and how, what amenities should be included, and how these should be maintained,” Carissa Harvey, the senior city planner, wrote in a report to the council.

Councilman Jeffrey Halter said having the plan will be valuable when it comes time to seek grants and donations to pay for future trails.

A $75,000 match is required for the grant.

Since 2000, a trail network that enables someone to go from Iowa Central Community College on the west side of Fort Dodge to John F. Kennedy Memorial Park north of the city without leaving a trail has been completed.

In another recreation matter, the council hired ISG Group of Mankato, Minnesota, to prepare plans for a new deer enclosure and a smaller pond at Oleson Park on South 17th Street. The company will be paid $14,800.

ISG Group created a new master plan for the park, which was adopted by the council in November.

The new deer enclosure will be near the bandshell. Once it is completed the park’s deer herd, which now includes eight animals, will no longer live in a deep ravine.

Councilman Andy Fritz voted to award the contract, but he expressed concern about paying for a park zoo in the future.

“The city of Fort Dodge cannot be in the business of running a zoo,” he said.

Also on Monday, the council ordered the demolition of a rundown house on the city’s northwest side that was noted for its purple paint job.

The city government used the state’s abandoned buildings law to take ownership of the one-story frame house at 615 Third Ave. N.W. in November.

On Monday, the council hired Russ’s Construction, of Fort Dodge, to tear down the house at a cost of $7,453.

Other bidders for the job were Rasch Construction Inc., $10,100; Dencklau Services, $12,731; and Clark Construction Ltd., $17,984. All of those companies are from Fort Dodge.