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Outdoor projects offer exciting future

Fort Dodge, Webster County must follow through on plans

A lot of exciting things are in the works for anyone who wants to get outside and have some fun in Fort Dodge and Webster County.

Fishing, running, bicycling and just hanging out by the river would all get a boost from an ambitious set of projects unveiled this week. The list includes handicapped accessible fishing jetties in the Des Moines River, a riverfront park at the west end of Central Avenue, a nature center in the park and a handful of new trails. Added to the mix is a reconstruction job on First Street next to the proposed riverfront park. Work on the jetties, the park and the street could start this fall. The first new trail, a loop around Badger Lake at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, could also get started this fall.

Construction of the nature center is expected to begin next year.

All of these projects resulted from a remarkable level of cooperation between the city and county governments. About 25 years ago, such collaboration would have been unlikely. Now it is routine as the city and county tackle ever bigger projects together.

Homeowners won’t be footing the bill for all of these things. For example, the county will be using tax increment financing money generated by the ag industrial park called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation and the numerous wind turbines in the southern part of the county.

When completed, these projects will provide a lot of fun opportunities for local residents. But they will also serve as attractive features that will help people to decide to come to Fort Dodge and Webster County to live and work. In an era in which people can live and work just about anywhere, quality of life features are needed to recruit and retain a workforce.

These projects offer an exciting new future for outdoor recreation and quality of life.

We appreciate the hours of planning needed to put these projects together. We urge city and county leaders to keep working together to get them finished.

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