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‘Exciting times’

Mall work continues; retailers being recruited

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
The road that will one day become Second Avenue South is taking shape at the Crossroads Mall site.

A booming shopping and entertainment venue that features nationally known retail stores is part of the vision for the Corridor Plaza development.

And that vision is slowly but surely becoming reality at the Crossroads Mall site.

As the visible construction work continues, there is also work being done behind the scenes to recruit retailers.

According to City Manager David Fierke, Crossroads Plaza Development, of Ankeny, has two letters of intent from national retailers to locate on site.

“They are talking to well over a dozen,” Fierke said Wednesday during a Greater Fort Dodge Webinar hosted by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “But they are in significant discussions with half a dozen.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Dirt work continues at the Crossroads Mall site on Wednesday. The developers for the site are working on recruiting nationally known retailers when the new shopping center emerges.

Fierke described the mall project as “exciting times.”

He reported that the UnityPoint Health – Clinic Express is close to being finished.

A new road, which will be a part of Second Avenue South, is also being created on the north side of the property.

Another proposal for the site includes an outdoor recreation and entertainment option. The proposal calls for a pavilion and plaza. The pavilion would be a building with a handful of spaces for restaurants, coffee shops or brew pubs on its south side. The north side would have more open space enclosed by overhead doors. It would be an area where a farmers market could be held.

The plaza would be an outdoor public and entertainment space north of the pavilion. It could include pickleball courts, picnic shelters and a raised and partially covered stage.

A water feature, like a fountain, would be nearby.

The pavilion and plaza would be on the west side of the mall property, behind a car wash, Central Financial Group and Great Western Bank.

To make this all possible, the Fort Dodge City Council has applied for $18 million in state assistance. That money would come from the Iowa Reinvestment District Program offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Fierke said the city will find out on Friday if it made the first cut for the funding.

“I think we will have a lot of positive news on Friday on our reinvestment application,” Fierke said.

Water plant

Fierke said it will only be a matter of days before the John W. Pray Water Treatment Plant pumps softer water for the city of Fort Dodge.

The water treatment process is called reverse osmosis.

“We might this Sunday, depending on where we are at, we might be able to start the plant this Sunday and produce 45 percent soft water,” Fierke said.

He said the following Sunday the plant will produce 75 percent soft water.

Fierke said it could take two or three days for residents to see the water quality changing.

He said adjustments will need to be made on water softening levels.

The hardness of water is measured in grains. The water in Fort Dodge now has 26 to 27 grains of hardness, according to City Engineer Tony Trotter.

Trotter said when the reverse osmosis system is running, the water will have about 7 grains of hardness.

Dennis Plautz, CEO of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said one industry in the area will save about $70,000 per year with the new reverse osmosis system.

“It’s a matter of days before we will have different water,” Fierke said.

Woodruff Construction LLC, of Fort Dodge, had a $19,970,000 contract to build the addition to the plant.

The reverse osmosis machinery was purchased from Harn RO Systems Inc., of Venice, Florida, for $3,343,500.

Paying for the new system will add about $7 a month to residential water bills. A portion of that increase has already been added to water bills.

Webster County Courthouse Clock tower

The restoration of the Webster County Courthouse clock tower is nearing completion, Webster County Supervisor Mark Campbell reported.

“The clock tower is pretty much done,” he said. “We have some exterior lighting that needs done and some copper still needs to arrive. The south roof is pretty much done.”

Construction began in March 2020.

The project included partial replacement of the clock tower that kept the intact pieces of the old green patina sheathing. The change may result in a browner clock tower overall, a departure from the green color earned over a century. The sheathing’s extensive weathering over 118 years contributed to the need for action.

The roof skylight was also restored.

Campbell said within the next three to four weeks, the scaffolding will start to come down.

“We are thinking the end of July, the project should wrap up,” he said. “It looks absolutely incredible.”

Campbell added, “This will be an asset that we will appreciate for many years to come.”

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