Recognition for innovative thinking

Fort Dodge city staff share in prestigious statewide planning award

Dedicated government workers often fail to receive the recognition they deserve for outstanding work they perform. Consequently, it is terrific news that Fort Dodge city employees have been among those who have just received a prestigious honor for an exceptional project.

The Fort Dodge city staff and a consulting firm were honored by a group of professional planners for creating a blueprint to revitalize the northwest side of the community. They received the Innovation in Economic Planning and Development Award from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association. The honor, announced Oct. 6, recognizes the city staff and Snyder & Associates Inc., of Ankeny. Fort Dodge City Manager David Fierke singled out the work of Carissa Harvey, the senior city planner, for special praise. He said she was “the driving Force behind the project.”

The project that gained this statewide attention was a concept for the Northwest River District.

It calls for infrastructure improvements, such as the reconstruction of Third Avenue Northwest. It includes trail connections and improved access to Lizard Creek. It also advocates building a big box store or strip mall near U.S. Highway 169. It envisions gateway features to mark the entrances to the neighborhood.

The plan was adopted by the City Council on Oct. 26, 2015. Its creation was largely paid for with money won in the America’s Best Communities contest. Fort Dodge submitted an entry outlining the scope of a proposed plan for the city’s northwest side in 2014. The city was named a quarterfinalist in the competition, was awarded $50,000 for the plan and was subsequently selected as a semifinalist. That enabled a local delegation to travel to Durham, North Carolina, in April 2016 to outline the project. The group, led by Harvey, made the presentation. Although the Fort Dodge project didn’t advance any farther in the contest, the city did receive an additional $25,000 for the project.

The Messenger takes pride in the outstanding work by our city employees that led to this award. We have a superb team of professionals serving our community. Harvey and her colleagues deserve our applause and congratulations for a job well done.