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One closes, another opens

May 24, 2012
Messenger News

To the editor:

I read with a degree of sadness that Sunkissed Meadows will be closing its doors. Like many, I have fond memories of times spent there. True that most of them include many bad - really bad - shots and the kind of embarrassing moments that came along with being one of the many new or struggling golfers who needed a place to hack away.

The closing of one door can lead to the opening of others. The end of Sunkissed Meadows provides new opportunity for Fort Dodgers.

One option, of course, is to do nothing. To neglect the area. To have it become an eyesore and a liability that sends the message to both citizens and visitors that Fort Dodge's best days are in the past.

The preferred option is to seize the moment, and to encourage interested and creative people to come together to fashion a new vision for the area and work to implement it.

It's a prime piece of property, in an area with other prime pieces of property. The riverfront has always been Fort Dodge's most underutilized and most unappreciated asset. I hope that Fort Dodgers will recognize and embrace this opportunity, and take a course that leads to progress.

Much good work has already been done. Years ago people started to recognize the opportunities for community growth and vitality that the riverfront presented. It's time to look at that work, re-think it and get about the business of making the plans come alive.

Many "river communities" in Iowa, some larger and some smaller than Fort Dodge, have accomplished great things along their riverfronts. They can be places of tremendous activity, while also being places of great serenity and beauty. They can remake how a city looks and how it feels.

When I left Fort Dodge many years ago, I said that while I may not be living here, I'll always be a Fort Dodger. That has remained true. I still care deeply about the community, the area, and its future. I still believe that FD's best days are ahead of it - and a rejuvenated Sunkissed Meadows and riverfront can and should be a big part of spurring the community forward.

Best wishes to all.

John Hale




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