Sports pavilion plan offers exciting options for area

Incentives from city needed to make it happen

Shooting hoops or playing a vigorous game of pickleball will be possible late next year in a new sports pavilion to be built at Corridor Plaza. And after working up a thirst and an appetite on the playing floors, people will be able to enjoy the offerings of a planned microbrewery/restaurant that will occupy part of the building.

Measuring 200-by-250-feet, the structure will be big enough to house the planned four basketball courts, three pickleball courts and the restaurant. It will stand on the west side of the Corridor Plaza property, with its front door facing east.

The developer of the pavilion, M and M LLC, of Ankeny, has estimated the cost of the project at $13 million.

As is typical with big developments in today’s economy, some financial aid from the local government is being requested. The City Council has agreed in principle to providing $2.65 million from a 2024 bond issue. It has also agreed in principle to providing five annual payments of $275,000 beginning in 2026. The money for those annual payments will come from state sales tax revenue given to the city via a Reinvestment District approved in the spring of 2022.

We admit that does seem like a lot for the city to hand out to the developer. But take a minute to consider the alternatives. One alternative is not having a sports pavilion at all, because the developer, or any other developer for that matter, will not move forward without some help. The other alternative is a $13 million sports pavilion paid for entirely by the taxpayers.

It is a pretty stark choice. We believe the current proposal is actually the best option. The people of the Fort Dodge area will get a nice sports facility and restaurant, while the taxpayers pay about $4 million for it. Keep in mind that about $1.4 million of that money will come from state sales tax revenue, so no city program or department will be shortchanged.

A handful of critics have noted that the pavilion plans do not appear to include a walking track. That would be nice to have, and maybe one can be added at some point. We wish people would focus on all the positives and stop complaining about the pavilion before the first shovelful of dirt for it has even been turned.

We believe the activities this pavilion will make possible will help make Fort Dodge a place where people want to be.


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