Each year the city's mayor delivers a State of the City Address. The goal is not only to review the community's progress during the past 12 months, but also to share a vision for the months and years ahead.
Monday, Mayor Matt Bemrich continued this time-honored tradition.
The mayor characterized 2011 as "a year full of exciting changes."
He's absolutely right.
The last few months have demonstrated that the future of this town is very bright indeed.
Major steps forward in job-creation occurred that will have huge economic consequences for 2012 and many years beyond.
On the retail front, the opening of a new Kohl's store on Fifth Avenue South is demonstrating the wisdom of the emphasis the city's governmental and business leaders have placed on the Corridor of Commerce initiative. A Taco John's restaurant has opened near Kohl's as has a Little Caesars just a bit farther away. Other businesses slated to commence operations nearby during 2012 include an Aspen Dental Clinic, a Perkins and a Verizon phone store.
It's a delight to report that 2011 also saw a retail renaissance in the downtown commercial district with close to a dozen new enterprises opening their doors or relocating to the city center. A much-needed recreation center is also in the planning stages,
Bemrich took note of the city's ongoing commitment to providing enhanced services to the public through efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Of particular concern to many Fort Dodgers is continuing the street repairs and other infrastructure work so badly needed to ready this community not just for further economic growth but additionally to enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives here.
"I would encourage the council, staff and citizens to stay the course and continue to fix our infrastructure based on a comprehensive capital improvement plan," Bemrich said.
That's a priority The Messenger shares. The mayor is right to stress the importance of those crucial projects.
Bemrich is rightly proud of the progress Fort Dodge has made in recent months. Much hard work lies ahead, but there is good reason to be optimistic about this town's future.