Herzog, get on the same page as FD

City has worked hard to improve, so should the mall

The lawsuit over site access to the Crossroads Mall that was dismissed Tuesday has created, whether it was intended to or not, a whiff of the once-stagnated Fort Dodge its powerful leadership has worked hard to assail.

After all, the year it took to get to the court date successfully derailed the Hutton Growth LLC proposal to build an adjacent new stretch of businesses.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee, developer had proposed tearing down the old Sears store and replacing it with a 74,300-square-foot building that would house eight stores. The company had also proposed building a 7,800-square-foot building closer to Fifth Avenue South that would house a restaurant and four stores.

That plan seemed in line with Fort Dodge’s steep growth spike and the equivalent soaring self-respect this town so deservedly embraced.

But Hutton pulled out, a result it had warned a protracted legal battle could reap.

Now Fort Dodge is left with a still-disputed cross-easement agreement that dates back to the 1960s and an existing mall that has been battered by major store closings.

True, the mall’s owner, J. Herzog & Sons Inc., of Denver, Colorado, is not responsible for those closings.

True, too, is that local mall management is not to blame.

Sears closed stores nationwide.

So did JCPenney.

Book World, which is in its final bricks and mortar gasp, most recently threw in the towel.

Without a doubt, those are three retail losses that any mall could scarcely afford.

They cast shade on a crucial northwest Iowa shopping hub.

At a time when this city is busting itself to elevate its global bioscience and agricultural profile, when its leadership is actively laying the groundwork for a lasting infrastructure on which to build its future, when the city dares to believe that a project with the scope of the Warden Plaza redevelopment could succeed, why is it so much to ask that an absentee mall landlord plug itself into what is happening in this town and take the hint?

Herzog, a vast commercial population travels to Fort Dodge for its shopping needs.

Let’s get on the same page.