Storage, shredding facility planned in Fort Dodge

Zoning change for mall area advances

A new storage facility and document shredding business will be built on the site of the old Sertoma field in Fort Dodge.

The City Council on Monday cleared the way for that development by selling the east half of the property at 29th Street and Eighth Avenue South to Aust Inc., of West Des Moines, for $75,000.

The company also received an option to buy the west half of the property within two years for another $75,000.

Aust Inc., which does business as Big City Storage, has proposed building storage units, other units specifically designed for storing documents, and a document shredding facility.

A construction schedule wasn’t available Monday.

Councilman Dave Flattery was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote to sell the property.

The Sertoma field was dismantled in 2015 due to work on the East Region Storm Sewer Project. Large storm sewers that empty into a detention pond across Eighth Avenue South from the field are under the site.

The field hadn’t been used for a couple of years prior to the 2015 work. It fell into disuse after more baseball and softball games were moved to an expanded Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex.

Long-time Fort Dodge residents may remember when the property was the site of a race track called Sportsmen’s Park and a drive-in restaurant called The Dog House.

In other business, the council approved the first reading of a measure that would change some of the zoning rules for the shopping center commercial district, which is essentially Crossroads Mall.

Among other things, the new rules would allow construction of clinics, hotels and apartments in the shopping center commercial district. They would also permit smaller lots with buildings closer to the property lines than what is now allowed.

The changes have to be approved two more times by the council to become effective

Jim Kramer, a Fort Dodge attorney representing the mall, said it would not object to the changes. However, he said a change to arterial commercial zoning would be preferred. He said the mall’s management had requested a switch to arterial commercial, but added “that zoning request has never moved forward.”

Mayor Matt Bemrich asked Kramer if there were any pending developments at the mall.

Kramer replied that there are “a number of prospects.” But he said there is “nothing specific at this time.”

The Crossroads Mall is experiencing some transitions. The Sears store closed in January 2016, and a proposal to tear it down and replace it with a new shopping center remains tied up in a court battle between J. Herzog & Sons Inc., of Denver, Colorado, which owns the mall, and Hutton Growth LLC, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is proposing the new stores. A trial is set to begin Nov. 14 in Webster County District Court.

Hutton Growth LLC proposes to build a 74,300-square-foot building to house eight stores and a 7,800-square-foot building to house a restaurant and four stores.

The JC Penney store is in the process of closing, and it may be demolished also.