Developments, road deal with state await FD council

The planned Crosstown Industrial Park on the east side of Fort Dodge will provide needed space for new businesses, according to local officials.

On the city’s west side, a new development proposal called Triton Plaza would create a hotel, office space, stores and apartments.

A deal in which the state government will give the city $9 million in exchange for taking over some roads is a key element in making both projects possible.

”It’s the gas in the engine,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said.

The City Council is slated to act on all three matters when it meets Monday.

The streets involved in the transaction between the Iowa Department of Transportation and the city are commonly known as Kenyon Road, South Eighth Street and Second Avenue South.

However, Kenyon Road, Eighth Street between Second and Fifth avenues south, and Second Avenue South between Eighth Street and U.S. Highway 169 make up Iowa Highway 926.

Following about six months of negotiations, a tentative deal has been reached in which those roads would become city-owned streets. Under the terms of the deal, the state would retain ownership of the Kenyon Road Bridge and the Karl King Viaduct. The state would also give the city $9 million.

City crews already plow the snow on those streets and perform minor maintenance.

The City Council will consider approving the deal on Monday.

The Crosstown Industrial Park will be on 140 acres north of the Decker Truck Line Inc. campus on Fifth Avenue South.

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

In May, the Iowa Transportation Commission awarded a $1,450,268 grant to help pay for extending First Avenue South and South 42nd Street into the industrial park site. Bemrich said some of the $9 million to be received from the state will also help pay for that road work.

On Monday, the council will consider a development agreement with Decker Investments Inc. that will provide the firm with up to $1,087,000 in tax increment financing money to help pay development costs.

Bemrich said high land prices and infrastructure costs that equal those in Des Moines create a barrier that impedes financing the project.

”We’re trying to help the developer soften the impact of that upfront cost,” he said. ”The return to the city through jobs and capital investment far outweigh the amount of TIF that we’re going to use.”

Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said there are about 10 businesses considering the city, but there’s no available land for them.

”Just from a sheer acreage standpoint, it’s important to open this area up,” he said.

Construction of the industrial park could begin this fall.

Triton Plaza would be located on the south side of Kenyon Road between the water tower and U.S. Highway 169. Those 12 acres have been identified as a place for business development in the past.

”If we’re going to see development in there, we need to be a player in making that happen,” said Chad Schaeffer, the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth.

A proposal to come before the council Monday would give Triton Plaza LLC up to $550,000 in tax increment financing money to help pay for extending utilities to the site. Schaeffer said the water main and sewers will have to be extended from the north side of Kenyon Road.

Schaeffer said the development of the Triton Plaza site is more likely to begin next spring.

He added that city ownership of Kenyon Road mean local leaders, not the state, will make decisions about the intersection of Tower Drive and Kenyon Road.