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Planners to conduct study on Third Avenue Northwest corridor

September 25, 2012
By BILL SHEA ( , Messenger News

The Third Avenue Northwest corridor in Fort Dodge will be the focus of a study that may someday give the area a new look.

The City Council on Monday directed the planning staff to begin an examination of the area that's expected to take 10 months to complete.

While most of the work will be done by city employees, a review of landscaping and other potential features that would improve the appearance of the corridor may be done by a consulting firm which would consider items that planners call streetscaping enhancements.

''It makes a lot of sense to think about what would be the gateway features along this corridor,'' said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, the senior city planner.

She estimated the cost of a consultant's streetscaping study at $15,000 to $20,000. Money to pay for that study would come from the city's community development fund.

The Third Avenue Northwest corridor is one of the last major entrances to the city that hasn't been considered for improvements, according to City Manager David Fierke. He added that the corridor now has increased prominence because it's a passage to and from the North Central Ag Industrial park west of the city.

Houk Sheetz said the area needs to be carefully studied to identify whatever issues may exist there. Housing, infrastructure and land use are among the things that must be considered, she added.

Sources of money to pay for whatever changes are recommended will have to be identified, according to Houk Sheetz. She said congressional earmarks and federal and state grants are no longer available.

Councilman Mark Taylor, who represents the 1st Ward where Third Avenue Northwest is located, said he would like to see a restaurant and a grocery store there. He added that he would like to strengthen the small businesses in the area.

Houk Sheetz and Vickie Reeck, the city's community development manager, hope to have the first public meetings on the effort next month.

They will also begin compiling information on housing, zoning compliance and flood plain limits.

The corridor study was discussed during a workshop session that preceded the council's regular business meeting Monday. Later in the evening, Mayor Matt Bemrich suggested expanding the proposed study area to include the Hydroelectric Dam on the Des Moines River.

''There are people that will drive a great distance to fish around them,'' he said.

No final decision on expanding the study area was made Monday.



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