Market on Central gets grant

A federal grant has been awarded to help pay for future operations of Market on Central, leaders of a downtown Fort Dodge group learned Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a grant of about $20,000, according to Cheryl O’Hern, a leader of the Market on Central program and a member of the Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District board.

The grant was sought to pay for a part-time manager for the market.

O’Hern said that by awarding the grant, the federal officials recognized the market as an economic development tool.

She said matching funds are being sought.

The next Market on Central will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Also on Tuesday, the board endorsed the concept of a gateway element consisting of signs and possibly some decorative feature at the corner of First Avenue North and Third Street to serve as an entry to the downtown. A final design for it has not been picked.

That gateway feature would be put in place after a section of First Avenue North is rebuilt next year.

In other business, Jim Bird, the board’s vice chairman, said that Snyder & Associates, of Ankeny, has finished the photography for a video that will promote the crosstown connector street realignment and downtown. He said the video should be done in a couple of weeks.

The crosstown connector project calls for joining First and Second avenues south near Sixth Street and turning First Avenue South into a two-way street for its entire length.

The Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District is a roughly 33 block downtown area in which property owners pay an extra tax to finance improvements there.