FD downtown parking study considered

An independent assessment of the downtown parking situation is being considered in Fort Dodge.

Leaders of the Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District said Tuesday that they would like to join forces with other public and private groups to help pay for a study that could cost $30,000.

The study would provide an assessment of the parking needs and a plan for meeting them, according to Stephanie Houk Sheetz, the senior city planner. She said she’s working on such a study, but added that working by herself she will not be able to finish it in a timely manner.

”I do not have time to move it as quickly,” Houk Sheetz told the district’s board of directors Tuesday.

She raised the possibility of hiring a company to do the study.

Jim Bird, the vice chairman of the board, said he would like to have ”outside eyes” look at the parking situation, but added that he doesn’t want the district to pay the full cost of a study.

Board members agreed to try to enlist some partners in a parking study and to revisit the issue next month.

The board members also discussed giving $15,400 to the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance as matching funding for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that would pay for hiring a part-time manager for Market on Central, which is the food, arts and crafts sale held on Central Avenue on alternate Saturdays through the spring, summer and fall.

The district had already committed $10,000 for the $20,400 grant. The additional $5,400, which hadn’t been anticipated, would be in the form of a loan.

Rich Seltz, the board’s chairman, suggested checking the district’s bylaws to see if the group can loan money.

The board may have a special meeting on the issue as soon as Friday.

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