Has concerns about FD’s future

To the editor:

I am so sad that Younkers and Zales will be leaving our Fort Dodge Crossroads Mall. I understand they were among the first stores in the mall when it opened over 50 years ago. At that time the stores were not under one roof. We had come a long way. With the exit of the Penney’s store last year and the large Sears store and our book store, etc., etc. our mall has become a pretty dismal place. It is not a place to welcome shoppers and encourage people to come to Fort Dodge to shop and eat after their ballgames, reunions, school activities, etc. People want to spend time in a place that looks pleasant and prosperous and has opportunities. Maybe a smaller mall is the answer — not a place with looming empty, sad looking stores. Our mall has become a place for tax write-offs and empty stores.

We have a lot of great new restaurants in town and new businesses have moved into our area. We are building homes and apartments for people new to this area to live. Fort Dodge has worked on Fifth Avenue South, which looks great for people coming into our city and put in lots of new roundabouts. We have a beautiful new Middle School, have built a new elementary school (Duncombe), and have remodeled the high school. However, good shopping to draw people to Fort Dodge is missing. We seem to be going backwards in that area and I hope our city leaders are concerned. It would be all well and good to upgrade and work on the downtown area but without a decent mall in our city, we will suffer. Fort Dodge has been a shopping hub for northwest Iowa for years. A lot of us don’t want to have only the opportunity to shop at discount stores or little boutiques — that is part of the puzzle but not all of it.

I urge our city leaders to talk with women and people in the area about how they feel about where Fort Dodge is heading. Downtown will never again be the big shopping area. I think that it’s role now is for the individual specialty shops. We need a mall to shop for our necessities. If something isn’t done soon, I see many people making trips to Des Moines and other towns to shop — leaving Fort Dodge behind.

Cindy Peterson

Fort Dodge