By BILL SHEA
A change in sign regulations intended to help the Crossroads Mall secure some new stores was approved by the Fort Dodge City Council Monday.
''We have two national tenants looking at the former Blockbuster building and the former Walgreens/Hancock Fabrics building (both of which currently do not have any signage) and exterior signage is very important in their decision making process,'' Larry Jessen, the general manager of the mall, wrote in a letter to the council. He did not identify the businesses which are considering the mall.
Under the former city rules, the mall was barred from having any more signs. That was an ''unintended consequence'' of the rules, Angela Torres, the associate city planner, told the council.
In response to the concerns raised by Jessen, the city planning staff wrote a proposal which would exempt properties in the shopping center commercial district which have more than 20 acres and face more than two streets from the maximum limit of 400 square feet of signs. The Crossroads Mall property covers 23 acres and faces three streets - First Avenue South, South 25th Street and South 29th Street. The mall also faces Fifth Avenue South. However, that end of the property is technically a separate lot under different ownership.
The change was approved unanimously.
Usually final approval of such measures requires three votes of the council. Jessen asked the council to forgo the other two votes to help his negotiations with the prospective stores. The council unanimously agreed to do that, making the change final on one vote.
In other business, the council hired Jensen Builders Ltd., of Fort Dodge, to rebuild the parking lot at First Avenue North and 10th Street at a cost of $165,990.80. That money will come from parking meter revenue and the sale of parking permits.
Fort Dodge Asphalt submitted a bid of $229,602.93 for the work.
Jensen Builders Ltd. was also hired to build some sidewalks at a cost of $85,745. The company will build sidewalks near the Fareway store at First Avenue South and 12th Street. It will also build a sidewalk along South 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue South and the animal shelter at 725 S. 32nd St.
Also on Monday, the council: