Council moves on street issue

The process of giving up city ownership of a part of Fourth Avenue North to support the creation of apartments in the former Phillips Middle School started during Monday’s Fort Dodge City Council meeting.

The council voted to give preliminary approval to vacating Fourth Avenue North between 10th and 11th streets. That section of road is immediately south of the former middle school.

The former Phillips Middle School, 1015 Fifth Ave. N., and the former Fair Oaks Middle School, 416 S. 10th St., were replaced by the new middle school that opened last fall at 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street. Foutch Brothers LLC, of Kansas City, Mo., has proposed to turn both old schools into apartment buildings.

Ending city ownership of the street will require two more affirmative votes of the council.

After the street is officially vacated, ownership of its northern half will be transferred to Foutch Brothers LLC, according to Carissa Miller, the associate city planner. That half will become parking for the apartments. Ownership of the south half of the street will be transferred to Holy Trinity Parish, which is buying the school’s gymnasium, located in a separate building. There are no plans to close the street to traffic.

Councilman Dean Hill was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote.

In other business, Councilman Don Wilson said Public Works Department leaders will meet with residents who have specific concerns about handling the new trash and recycling bins that will be distributed later this month.

”There is a process and people can call Public Works,” he said.

”There are quite a few people out there that are a little bit scared of this,” Wilson added.

Also on Monday, the council approved an agreement with Webster County for replacing a bridge on 160th Street that is jointly owned by the city and county. The bridge is on the north side of Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex.

The bridge replacement is expected to cost $500,000, according to a report to the council by Chad Schaeffer, the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth. He wrote that the state will provide $400,000 for the project while the city and county will evenly split the remaining $100,000.

A schedule for replacing the bridge wasn’t available Monday.