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Outdoor project at mall site deserves support

Pavilion, plaza are practical, achievable

A new proposal for the Crossroads Mall site would provide an outdoor recreation and entertainment option that currently doesn’t exist in that part of town.

As part of the evolving plan for the property announced by new owner Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, this latest 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.

We believe this project is a good candidate for the state money, which we think should be awarded.

There will likely be some high profile projects like sports arenas in the hunt for that money. Our local project may seem small in comparison.

That is a good reason why the officials administering the program should award funding to the Fort Dodge initiative. Because of its smaller scope, it is a project that is eminently practical and achievable.

This is also an opportunity to spread some state assistance beyond the Des Moines metropolitan area, something that needs to happen more often.

We congratulate Crossroads Plaza Development on this project, and encourage the Iowa Economic Development Authority to support it.

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