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Remaking downtown

Six buildings to be part of latest facade project

Six downtown Fort Dodge buildings will be getting a fresh look financed by a recently awarded state grant.

Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge, told the City Council Monday that these buildings will be included in the upcoming facade upgrade project:

• 700 Central Ave. (Wicker Jewelers).

• 710 Central Ave. (the former Hayloft).

• 801 Central Ave. (Snell Building).

• 815 Central Ave.

• 911 Central Ave. ( former Olson Jewelers).

• 814 First Ave. S.

Patrick said bids from contractors interested in doing the facade work will be sought in January.

The city government and Main Street Fort Dodge received a $500,000 grant last month from the Iowa Finance Authority to help pay for the work. A similar grant-funded facade project was completed at the east end of downtown earlier this year.

Patrick said downtown Fort Dodge has experienced a growth spurt since January 2018. For example, she said there has been about $6.3 million invested in rehabilitating downtown buildings in that time.

“There’s really a resurgence of developers wanting to be here,” she said.

According to Patrick, there are 208 businesses located downtown. She revealed that another business, a grocery store specializing in Asian foods, has acquired a building at 12 N. Seventh St and will open next year.

There are now 1,299 people working downtown, she said.

She added that there are another 509 people living downtown in 405 apartments.

The Pick It Up Fort Dodge project, featuring trash bins made by Fort Dodge Senior High School industrial technology students that were decorated with artwork by younger kids, has made a difference downtown, according to Patrick.

“Our downtown is much cleaner,” she said. “You don’t see the blowing trash as much. Those things are getting used.”

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