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FD council to vote on water crossings

Snell-Crawford, Exposition Park plans on tonight’s agenda

The future of a pair of crossings that allow vehicles to go through Soldier Creek in Snell-Crawford Park will be decided by the City Council tonight.

The council will consider a proposed master plan for the park along Williams Drive. The plan includes two options for the crossings. One would close them permanently. The other would open them, but install safety features that would force vehicles to slow way down before going through.

The council will begin its work at 5 p.m. today in the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S., with a workshop on the Snell-Crawford Park master plan.

The council’s business meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Two ways to remotely view and participate in the meeting are being offered.

To do so online, go to zoom.us and enter webinar ID number 816045072 and passcode 948411.

To participate by phone dial (312) 626-6799 and enter the same webinar ID number and passcode.

The plan for Snell-Crawford Park includes several features, including a concrete patio outside the shelter house that is closest to Williams Drive. But the water crossings have generated the most discussion, as they have periodically over the last 20 years.

Those crossings have been closed for about three years.

Proponents of reopening them say that move will improve access to the park for the elderly and disabled. Opening them will also allow the police to better patrol the park, according to supporters of that move.

Opponents of reopening crossings say it’s dangerous to have vehicles moving through the water that children like to play in.

The Fort Dodge Rotary Club, which has adopted the park and invested thousands of dollars and countless hours of volunteer labor into it, is calling for the crossings to be reopened.

The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission and the city staff have recommended keeping the crossings closed.

The council will discuss the plan during the 5 p.m. workshop and then vote on it during the 6 p.m. meeting.

A master plan for Exposition Park on North Seventh Street is also on the council’s agenda tonight. It calls for creating a sidewalk loop throughout the park. Artworks along with markers providing information on the trees and plants found in the park will be placed along that loop.

The plan does not address a proposal to rename the park in honor of the late Rev. Al Henderson.

So far, the proposal for Exposition Park has generated far less discussion than the one for Snell-Crawford Park.

Also tonight, the council will consider giving up city ownership of some right-of-way near 10th Avenue North and Forest Avenue.

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