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Building a better block

Effort aims to help revitalize downtown Fort Dodge

An internationally-known nonprofit will be coming to Fort Dodge this week to help with ideas that will be used to revitalize the downtown area.

The Better Block Foundation, nonprofit specializing in innovative urban design, is based in Dallas, Texas.

Main Street Fort Dodge will be hosting the Better Block Foundation Wednesday and Thursday.

According to Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, Better Block Foundation founder Jason Roberts will be giving a public presentation on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Heartland Communication conference room, 1003 Central Ave.

“Jason’s presentation will educate and inspire attendees through examples of revitalization projects utilizing short-term, high-impact approaches,” Patrick said.

After the presentation, a mini-build project will be held at 1107 Central Ave. as a way of demonstrating the transformative effects of creative placemaking elements.

Patrick said it will also plant the seed for larger-scale project ideas.

The mini-build will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the 1100 block of Central Avenue.

According to Patrick, the vacant lot there will be transformed thanks to Was Broken Pallet Co., Decker Truck Line Inc., Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association, Fort Dodge Home Builders Association, McElroy Concrete, Smitty’s Garden Center, Menards, as well as volunteers and community donations.

“The community is invited to join the build creating pallet furniture, a refreshment and stage area, install art pieces, and stringing lights,” Patrick said.

Afterward, a block party and pop-up concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Kris Karr will be performing, and students from Fort Dodge Senior High will be promoting the musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”

Olde Boston’s Restaurant and Pub will be supplying a bar, while water will be provided by Blue Ribbon Pelham Waters.

Patrick said the furniture will stay through Friday.

On Thursday, the Better Block team will lead a series of discussions to help generate downtown revitalization projects. That will take place at the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance offices, 24 N. Ninth St.

“As a follow up to the visit, Better Block will also provide a report summarizing longer term ideas to support Fort Dodge’s creative placemaking and downtown revitalization efforts,” Patrick said.

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