Intermodal hub would offer transportation options downtown

The future may look something like this

-Messenger graphic
An intermodal hub that would be a part of the Warden project could bring a consolidation of travel to downtown Fort Dodge.

A parking ramp with additional transportation features called an intermodal hub may someday link a rejuvenated Warden Plaza and a new cultural and wellness center in downtown Fort Dodge.

City officials will learn this summer if a $5.9 million federal grant will be awarded to help pay for its construction along First Avenue South.

Once completed, the presence of the intermodal hub would make it possible for someone to drive to downtown Fort Dodge, park in a covered space and get on a bus to either go to work or start the first leg of a crosscountry trip.

People could also walk in and rent a bike for a leisurely ride around downtown.

From the outside, it would look like a pretty standard parking ramp. But because the facility would offer connections between different forms of transportation, city officials are calling it an intermodal hub.

“What we wanted to do was create a very versatile feature,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said when the intermodal hub concept was introduced in October 2018.

“I definitely think it enhances multiple transportation options,” he added. “For a rural Iowa community of our size, it shows the importance of multiple forms of transportation. I believe one of the plans is to establish a bus service where you could park there and get on a bus to go to Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation, Prestage Foods and other employers that may be seeking employees.”

The intermodal hub is intended to:

• Mitigate part of the parking shortage in downtown

• House a bus stop plus some of the dispatch and ticketing operations of Dodger Area Rapid Transit

• Provide parking for the renovated Warden Plaza

• Provide parking for the new cultural and recreation center

• Provide space for the central hub of a citywide bike share system

• Provide parking for the nearby Carver Building

To make room for the intermodal hub, the Wahkonsa Annex, which is the light-colored brick building on the east side of the Warden Plaza, would be demolished. Also, the building that houses TC Mae’s at 1010 First Ave. S., would be demolished.

South 10th Street just north of First Avenue South would remain open to traffic, with a portion of the intermodal hub crossing above it.

As first proposed, the hub would have parking spaces for about 500 vehicles.

However, after the city failed to win a $7.63 million federal Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant last year, officials are now planning a small version which could be expanded.

The $5.9 million grant now being sought is also from the BUILD program.

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