Nearly two years ago, voters turned out in impressive numbers to register their support for the plan to borrow up to $8.95 million to build an aquatic center and park at the intersection of 32nd Street and 10th Avenue North. The 3,962 "yes" votes constituted 61.15 percent of the 6,479 votes cast. That was more than the required 60 percent for approval. The turnout reflected intense interest in this issue. Almost exactly 40 percent of the city's 16,173 registered voters cast ballots. That approaches the voter participation for some general elections and is a remarkable percentage for a special election. This issue was obviously of immense concern to many Fort Dodgers. They showed up at the polls to register their views.
Fort Dodgers voted to convert a long-held dream into a tangible reality. Now, at long last, an outstanding new recreational asset is ready to serve the public. That, of course, will be the primary focus for the thousands of area residents who will make use of the aquatic center as the hottest part of summer 2010 unfolds. There is, however, more to this story.
In addition to improving the quality of life for many Fort Dodgers, the Rosedale Rapids/Fort Dodge Aquatic Center/Schmoker Family Park will enhance our town's appeal to potential corporate investors. The support for this project is an excellent example of a willingness by Fort Dodge residents to invest tax dollars in projects that will improve the town's marketability. Such a commitment is necessary to be a winner in an increasingly competitive economic development world. When business leaders evaluate cities as potential sites for building new plants - or consider expanding those that already exist - they pay close attention to the amenities those communities will afford their workers.
Building the aquatic center sent the message that this community is not only open for business, but intends to be aggressive about creating a better tomorrow. It is tangible evidence that Fort Dodge is prepared to make the critical choices essential to a bright and prosperous future.
The Fort Dodge Aquatic Center is part of an innovative, positive vision for the Fort Dodge of the 21st century. Its completion is very good news indeed.