Each year, thousands of visitors enter Fort Dodge via North 15th Street. The road serves as one of the main thoroughfares leading to and from popular events.
Consequently, anyone attending the dragon boat races at Badger Lake or the State High School Cross Country meet at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, the Iowa High School Girls State Softball Tournament at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex, the Couch Freak Boogie skydiving event at the Fort Dodge Regional Airport or Applefest at the Community Orchard will experience that traffic corridor.
Many of them are visitors from outside Fort Dodge.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Rob Gunderson, Larry Linn, Nick Drzycinski, Phil Gunderson and Bruce Hall, from left, are members of a newly formed group of North 15th Street business people who help promote the corridor and keep it looking its best. Other members not pictured include Rhonda Chambers and Mike Buhr. The Welcome to Fort Dodge area they are posing on is maintained by the Pride In Community Appearance group with which they will be working.
To keep that route looking good, a group of local business owners whose properties are located along North 15th have joined forces to beautify and maintain the area, and they are encouraging other property owners on the street to do the same.
"Most of the property owners along 15th take pretty good care of their properties," said Dr. Nick Drzycimski, who owns the Rolling Hills Dental Clinic on North 15th Street. "It is one of the nicest entrances into Fort Dodge and we want to make sure we keep it that way."
Drzycimski, along with 15th Street business owners from Fifth Avenue South northward as far as the Fort Dodge Regional Airport, comprise the group.
"We've only met a few times. We're still planning, but we did a little before Memorial Day and Frontier Days and it would be nice to have things looking good for state softball," Drzycimski said.
"We're spreading the word," said Rob Gunderson, of Gunderson Funeral Home and Cremation Services, which is also located along North 15th Street. "We're working together to get people involved and let them know what we are doing to welcome people to town."
The group includes Drzycimski; Mike Buhr, of American Family Insurance; Bruce Hall, of Crystalwood Creations; Phil and Rob Gunderson, Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services; Steve Lawler, of Tom Thumb Deli and Dairy Queen; Larry Linn, Domino's Pizza; Bruce Murman, manager of Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits; and Fort Dodge Regional Airport Director Rhonda Chambers.
Together, they're spreading the word about their combined efforts to private property and home owners along the road as well.
"About a week ago we sent letters out to the residents along North 15th," said Drzycimski. 'We're also making contact with the homeowners by splitting up and going out to let them know what we are doing."
The city of Fort Dodge and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance have assisted the group's efforts by providing maps and lists of property owners in the area.
"We have great support from the city," said Drzycimski.
Although it is a new group, Drzycimski hopes its members will be able to make a big difference.
"Just making everyone aware will help," he said. "We're hoping everyone will do a little to chip in."
The group is planning to have a larger group of volunteers ready to help with cleanup before the start of the State Softball Tournament July 16.
"The more people we can get involved, the better it will be," said Gunderson. 'We're hoping what we can do in our neighborhood will encourage others to want to do the same thing in their neighborhoods."
"We're a budding group," said Drzycimski. "We're just getting off the ground, but we are getting things done."