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$500,000 awarded for another downtown project

State agency recognizes that Fort Dodge gets things done right

The exteriors of some buildings in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Central Avenue have been dramatically transformed recently.

Windows have been returned to places once covered with boards or bricks. Brick walls look sharp and almost new thanks to thorough tuckpointing jobs. Fresh paint and new awnings adorn buildings.

That new look extends to structures along 10th and 11th streets just off Central Avenue.

Work on those buildings started last year and wrapped up this spring.

The effort was made possible by a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant awarded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The city government and the owners of the buildings also chipped in for this successful project.

Remarkably, the city, Main Street Fort Dodge and private property owners are about to do a similar project a few blocks away.

Just months after work concluded on the most recent facade projects, the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded the community another $500,000 grant for the same type of work. Matching funds will again come from the city and property owners.

Although specific buildings haven’t been identified, this next project will target the 700 through 900 blocks of Central Avenue, the north side of the 800 block of First Avenue South and the adjacent side streets.

The prior facade project showed the staff at the Iowa Economic Development Authority that Fort Dodge gets things done and done right. That apparently made it a simple decision for them to send more grant money to our community.

As Mayor Matt Bemrich told The Messenger, ”I think it shows that the state recognizes that we’ve wisely invested that money and created a return on investment on those tax dollars.”

The new grant can be considered a recognition of the effective way that the public and private sectors in Fort Dodge came together to get something good done for the community. That should be a point of pride for everyone in the city.

While we eagerly wait to see what will be done next, we encourage people to take a walk through the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Central Avenue to admire the rejuvenated buildings and spend a little money with the businesses that occupy them.

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