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Preserving Snell-Crawford

Keeping the water crossing feature makes park unique, attractive

Attractive parks are a big part of what makes a community enticing. They’re a key element to creating the quality of life that causes people to want to live and work in a given place.

Snell-Crawford Park, which is nestled in a valley between Williams Drive and North 15th Street, is one of the major parks in Fort Dodge. Soldier Creek snakes through the park, and its presence makes the site unique. For decades, perhaps for generations, people have been able to drive or walk through the water at two crossings.

The easternmost of those crossings has crumbled beyond repair and is no longer useable.

The future of the westernmost crossing is now being considered by city officials, starting with the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission. Consulting firm ISG, of Des Moines, has presented two options.

One option would close the crossing, blocking it with big stones.

The second option would keep the crossing open, with added safety features. First, a sharp bend would be created in the park road just before the crossing. It would force drivers to really slow down before entering the crossing. To further slow down the vehicles, a speed bump would be built at the spot where vehicles would actually enter the crossing. Both sides of the crossing would be lined with big rocks fastened to the ground with steel reinforcing bars. Those rocks would separate the vehicles from the pedestrians.

Members of the Fort Dodge Rotary Club, which has adopted the park and invested about $500,000 plus countless hours of volunteer labor in it, want to keep that water crossing open.

”The public wants it, we want it,” Dr. Matt Maggio, the chairman of the club’s Park Committee, told the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission.

We also urge city leaders to keep the crossing open, with all the suggested safety upgrades.

Keeping that crossing open preserves a unique element of the park that people have enjoyed for decades. It enables people to get to and through water in a way that can’t be done in any other city park.

And while a modified water crossing won’t look the same as it always did, its presence would preserve some of the historic character of the site.

Let’s keep Snell-Crawford Park the unique and attractive place that it is, complete with a water crossing.