Sculpture is a go for Fort Dodge

Deardorf Foundation to pay $70K cost

-Submitted image
The Fort Dodge City Council approved a new public sculpture for Fort Dodge on Monday. The stainless steel sculpture will represent the past, present and future of Fort Dodge, the artist, Dan Perry, of Waterloo, has said.

A roughly 15-foot tall sculpture commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Fort Dodge city charter will be placed downtown later this year.

A $70,000 grant from the Catherine Vincent Deardorf Charitable Foundation will pay for the artwork.

“They are donating 100 percent of the money for the sculpture,” City Manager David Fierke said Monday.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved an agreement with the artist, Dan Perry, of Waterloo. Perry will deliver the completed sculpture in September.

The sculpture will be placed along the south side of First Avenue South, east of the intersection with Ninth Street. The city government bought that property earlier this year, and will demolish the building that’s on it.

“I think this is going to be a good contribution,” Councilman Terry Moehnke said.

Mayor Matt Bemrich described it as a “good project.”

Councilman Dave Flattery said he has met Perry and added that he was “very impressed” by the artist. He said he would like Perry to make a presentation during a future council workshop.

Moehnke and Councilman Neven Conrad both noted that initial reports of the sculpture plans provoked a storm of criticism on social media.

Conrad said he was disappointed by that response.

“I’m just very concerned that we jump to negativity,” he said.

He said he worries about what message all those negative comments send to someone who wants to invest in the community.

Fort Dodge residents, he said, should “rally around these improvements.”

In a written description provided to city officials, Perry wrote that the base of the sculpture will consist of interwoven forms symbolizing gypsum, a mineral key to the economy of Fort Dodge. A central column representing growth will rise from that base. The column will be illuminated by color-changing LED lights at night. A ribbon representing the Des Moines River will be wrapped around the column.

That design was one of about six created by Perry. Members of the committee planning ways to mark the 150th anniversary of the city charter granted in 1869 picked the final design.

That committee includes Eric Anderson, director of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum; Cory Bargfrede, advertising director of The Messenger; Shelly Bottorff, executive director of the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association; Randy Kuhlman, chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way; Scott Johnson, president of Kallin-Johnson Monument Co. Inc.; Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge; Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance; Councilwoman Lydia Schuur; Bemrich, and Flattery.

Anderson said the sculpture will be delivered in one piece and will be hoisted onto a concrete pedestal by a crane.

The city bought the property where the sculpture will stand in April from FDV LLC, of Fort Dodge, for $100,000. Bemrich said the property was not purchased to create a place for the sculpture. He said being able to put the sculpture there is actually a “bonus.” After the building now on the site is knocked down, the area will become a parking lot, the mayor said. The sculpture will remain in place after the parking lot is created.

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