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New Signage Will Point the Way Downtown

December 4, 2013
Messenger News

In a world of GPS, signs can still offer a useful way to improve accessibility in downtown Fort Dodge and beyond. That's why the community is installing eye-catching, new wayfinding signage in key locations.

"In 2011, downtown leaders partnered with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance's Image Committee and the Trails Task Force to develop a wayfinding plan," said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, a senior planner with the Fort Dodge Department of Business Affairs and Community Growth. "Some of the signs recommended by this plan will soon be installed."

There will be two types of wayfinding signs downtown, including vehicular signs and community/trails signs that are information-related. Vehicular signs will be posted at strategic locations along the street to help drivers (or pedestrians) know which way to go for certain destinations. These destinations can include public parking lots, City Hall, the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, the Fort Dodge Public Library and more.

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The signs will be installed on Central Avenue starting in the spring 2014, Houk Sheetz said. After that, more signs will be phased in at additional public parking lots and along other streets that support the core downtown area.

Signs help connect the community

The other type of sign to be installed in the spring of 2014 is a community/trails informational sign. Its appearance will resemble signs to be installed along Fort Dodge's new trails. The informational sign will be located at Central Avenue and 9th Street, in the same area as the bus stop, said Houk Sheetz, who added that this sign is funded through Vision Iowa and Iowa Great Places grants.

An informational sign about Fort Dodge's Oak Hill Historic District is also in the works, thanks to a grant from the Smeltzer Charitable Trust and work by the Historic Preservation Commission. This sign will be installed along South 10th Street, just south of the Smeltzer house property.

Efforts on wayfinding signage are not just occurring in downtown, said Cheryl O'Hern, who serves on the board of Fort Dodge's Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID). Informational signs will soon be installed along Fort Dodge's trails in the spring of 2014. Other vehicular wayfinding signs are planned in the coming years and will be added at locations throughout Fort Dodge.

"Starting in 2014, these signs will start connecting all areas of Fort Dodge to the downtown and vice versa, for the benefit of the community and visitors alike," Houk Sheetz said.

For more on the wayfinding plan, to go to



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