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New faces for old places

Facade project continues in downtown Fort Dodge

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Little Joe’s Computers, 1000 Central Ave., is one of the 10 buildings in downtown Fort Dodge that are currently undergoing a facade rehabilitation.

Parts of downtown Fort Dodge are undergoing a facelift right now as 10 buildings are having their facades rehabilitated thanks to a half-million-dollar Community Development Block Grant.

In July 2019, the city received the $500,000 downtown revitalization grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the project.

The grant will cover 50 percent of the costs. The city government will cover 25 percent of the costs through tax increment financing, and the property owners will contribute the remaining 25 percent.

Cornerstone Commercial Contractors Inc., of Corning, submitted the low bid to the city for $867,500 for the work.

Construction on the building facades began earlier this summer, said Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Harty’s Caddy Shack Cafe, 1101 Central Ave., is one of the 10 buildings in downtown Fort Dodge that are undergoing a facade face-lift thanks to a $500,000 community development block grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

There have been some delays in the process, she said.

“Whenever there’s a change on a building — because we’re using federal funding — we have to take it to the State Historic Preservation Office and they have to OK the changes, so that adds on a little time,” Patrick explained.

The facade rehabilitation includes the brick exterior walls being cleaned and repaired in a process called tuckpointing, new carpentry work, glass repair and placement and more. It applies to the whole facade, from street level all the way up to the roof line, but not including the roof itself.

“This is what we call deferred maintenance,” Patrick said. “People just haven’t been able to take care of their buildings for a long time, or maybe the building has changed owners repeatedly and in that process the facade gets neglected.”

By rehabilitating the existing building facades, Patrick said, “we’re really celebrating our history.”

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert Updated trim along the roof of 1104 Central Ave. is part of that building’s facade makeover this fall.

Property owners are also investing in their properties in ways many may not have been able to afford otherwise.

“They get like $3 in funding for every $1 equity they put in, so they get an amazing opportunity to fix up some of their buildings,” Patrick said.

In fact, it’s the building owners who make this all worth it for Patrick.

“The most fun part is just working with the business owners because you get to know them better and really establish that relationship with them,” she said.

Buildings included in the downtown facade project are:

• 1000 Central Ave. (Little Joe’s Computers)

• 11 N. 10th St.

• 15 N. 10th St. (Brass Monkey Lounge)

• 1018 Central Ave.

•1020 Central Ave. (Sew Formal)

•16 N. 11th St. (Fireside Lounge)

•1101 Central Ave. (Harty’s Caddy Shack Cafe)

• 7 S. 11th St.

• 1104 Central Ave.

• 1108 Central Ave. (Mary Kay’s Gifts and Home Decor)

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