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Facade project coming to downtown

Property owners, local officials and Main Street Fort Dodge are key to the effort

Downtown Fort Dodge is loaded with historic buildings. In fact, there are so many of them that a portion of downtown was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.

But the passage of years has been harder on some of those buildings than others. Many could use a little work.

A state grant will make that work possible for 10 buildings. Efforts to refurbish the facades of those buildings could start in three to four weeks.

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

That grant will cover 50 percent of the costs of the upcoming facade projects. The city government will cover 25 percent of the costs through tax increment financing and the property owners will pay the remaining 25 percent.

The improvements will be done at these buildings:

• 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)

The City Council on Monday hired Cornerstone Commercial Contractors Inc., of Corning, to do the work at a cost of $867,500.

The property owners who are participating in this initiative are to be congratulated. Their investment will extend beyond their buildings, helping to improve the community as well as the structures. And remember that even though a grant is paying most of the costs, those property owners are spending some of their money to make this happen.

Credit for the project also goes to the city staff, and the staff and volunteers of Main Street Fort Dodge, who worked together to successfully apply for the grant.

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