Downtown FD will be looking good

Upgrades to building facades will help city center thrive

There are many ways that downtown districts can be made vital. In some communities where central commercial venues have waned, revival of the city centers has been accomplished in part by incorporating architectural masterpieces from earlier days in the plans for tomorrow.

That’s part of the approach Main Street Fort Dodge and the city of Fort Dodge are pursuing collaboratively as plans move forward to make the community’s historic business district a thriving part of its future.

It was just announced that our town is the recipient of $500,000 in federal grant funding channeled through the Iowa Economic Development Authority that will make possible the enhancement of the facades of 12 buildings located in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Central Avenue and adjacent streets. The precise improvements will be worked out this fall when architects will confer with property owners about the possible options.

This undertaking is exciting and will help the city’s center reclaim a role it fulfilled for more than a century.

Downtown Fort Dodge was very much the heart of the city throughout most of our community’s history. In recent decades, however, it has not been the vibrant commercial, entertainment and residential hub it was during its glory years.

Recapturing the past is seldom possible. Even so, Main Street Fort Dodge, in partnership with our town’s governmental and community leaders, has an ambitious vision for downtown Fort Dodge. It is convinced that a grand rebirth is possible and that downtown can be a key part of this city’s future. The grant monies for these building facade refurbishments will help that game plan evolve.

The many stately downtown buildings that once were the pride of the city can become vibrant once again if interior renovations are coupled with a restoration and enhancement of the exteriors to bring about the grandeur intended by their designers. That not only makes those buildings more viable as business or residential locations, but also encourages redevelopment of nearby properties.

The Messenger encourages community leaders to capitalize on architectural assets downtown that are currently being underutilized as we envision the city’s possible tomorrows. We congratulate the city government and Main Street Fort Dodge for seizing on the opportunity this grant money will afford to improve the look of a section of downtown Fort Dodge.

We hope that as more people see what can be accomplished with sensible investments they will help our community leaders conceptualize and implement additional projects.