Industrial potential

A new industrial park is planned for the east side of Fort Dodge, local leaders announced Thursday.

It will be located on about 140 acres north of the Decker Truck Line Inc. campus on Fifth Avenue South. When completed, it will consist of 21 lots of varying sizes to meet the demands of light industrial businesses that will serve major local manufacturers.

“We’re seeing people coming in and looking for this type of property,” said Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.

Once completed, the industrial park could be the site of 800 jobs and $63 million worth of new tax value, according to an announcement from the city.

Construction, which will include extensions of First Avenue South and South 42nd Street, is expected to start this summer.

The City Council is expected to take an initial step toward that construction Monday by acting on a resolution endorsing the project as part of an application for a roughly $1.7 million grant to help pay for the street extensions. The council will meet in the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S., with a budget workshop at 5 p.m. and a business meeting at 6 p.m.

Demand for space

Currently, there is very little space for new industrial businesses within Fort Dodge, according to Plautz. He said there are just 18 available acres in the city’s industrial park on the city’s east side.

While the available ground is limited, the demand for it is growing.

“We have lots of different companies that have been looking,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said.

Plautz said the companies that are looking for property are businesses that would support manufacturers like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., Cargill and CJ Bio America.

In addition to available ground, the site offers quick access to U.S. Highway 20, he added.

The property is owned by Decker Investments Inc., of Fort Dodge.

McClure Engineering Co., of Fort Dodge, is preparing the plans for the site, according to Tim Burns, the treasurer of Decker Investments Inc.

Burns said the plans include a pond which he described as “a huge side benefit that should help flooding issues downstream.” There is already a drainage ditch in the area.

Needed road work

To serve the industrial park, First Avenue South will be extended 3,800 feet east from its current endpoint near Fort Frenzy, 3232 First Ave. S.

Also, South 42nd Street will be extended 1,550 feet north.

South 42nd Street and First Avenue South would intersect, according to the industrial park plan.

City Manager David Fierke said the road work is estimated to cost about $3.4 million.

The city plans to apply for a $1,738,501 Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grant from the state Department of Transportation. The grant application must be submitted by Feb. 1.

Fierke said local officials will learn if the grant will be awarded within two to three months.

A development agreement spelling out where the rest of the needed money will come from hasn’t been finished yet, he said.

Within the last year, First Avenue South was extended 1,700 feet east from its former endpoint at 32nd Street to serve Fort Frenzy, a family entertainment center.

Todd McCubbin, the vice president and managing partner of TJK Entertainment LLC, the company which owns Fort Frenzy, said the industrial park will be a benefit for the center and the community.

“It’s great for Fort Frenzy to have some more traffic going by,” he said. “It’s just great for the whole community and the crosstown connector.”

The crosstown connector project will turn First Avenue South into a two-way street for its entire length.