Flattery talks growth, planning at meeting

Fort Dodge City Councilman Dave Flattery outlined his goals for the future of the city and talked about the importance of moving the community forward during a meeting held at his home Tuesday.

During the meeting, Flattery, who represents Ward 3, highlighted the importance of long-range planning in figuring out what the direction the city should be going in.

“Long-range planning allows us to focus,” he said. “We started it about six or seven years ago, and it’s the reason why I’m on the council. It’s a road map we can follow that gives us the direction of where we go as a city.”

That way, according to Flattery, the City Council can work to determine what issues need a serious look. He said at this point, his biggest focus is on revitalizing the city.

“Our focus is to make Fort Dodge a more attractive place to live,” he said. “We’ve expanded our retail and we’re working on improving our recreational amenities.”

“I represent your ward,” he continued, “but I feel we have to focus on our city as a whole.”

One way Flattery said the city can expand is by beginning work on the crosstown connector project, which would reconstruct part of the downtown area to increase traffic flow to businesses. Flattery is in favor of the plan, which the current council has put in what Flattery referred to as an “idle” state.

“We need to make our downtown grow, and that will serve as the catalyst for making Fort Dodge grow,” he said.

Without making those improvements, Flattery said local businesses looking to expand may instead travel to Des Moines or Ames.

“We won’t grow unless we want to grow,” he said.

While he acknowledged concerns that some of the city’s streets need to be fixed, he said that can’t be the focus of the council right now.

“Our focus should be on creating these corridors,” he said. “As we grow, we can use that revenue to fix the problems with our streets. I understand that the streets need to be fixed, but we need to look at the bigger picture.”

Flattery added that he wants to have a vision for the future.

“We have to make our community unique,” he said. “The future of Fort Dodge is very bright.”

Flattery is running for a second two-year term representing Ward 3, which is the northeastern part of the city. He previously served as an at-large member of the council from 2007 to 2011. Flattery will face Richard Higgins, who unsuccessfully sought election to the council in 2007, 2009 and 2011, in the Nov. 5 vote.