More businesses and better infrastructure are the key things a group of northwest Fort Dodge residents want for their neighborhood, a public input exercise conducted Monday revealed.
About 50 people gathered at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites, 1518 Third Ave. N.W., to offer their opinions as city officials begin preparing a plan for the future growth of an area that has renewed importance because of its position as the gateway between the city and the North Central Ag Industrial Park.
''It's your plan, not our plan,'' Vickie Reeck, the city's community development manager, told those in attendance.
Last month, the City Council directed the planning staff to conduct an analysis of the Third Avenue Northwest corridor. Collecting the insights of those who live there or own property there was an early step in that process.
On Monday evening, the group was asked to indicate what they want to see different in the neighborhood in 2030. A desire for more businesses emerged essentially tied with a desire for improved roads, sewers and other infrastructure.
The need for a grocery store on that side of the city was mentioned repeatedly. A couple residents listed very specific stores, such as a Super Kmart and a Lowe's building supply store, that they want to see there.
Smoother streets and more storm sewers, sidewalks and street lights were listed as the wanted infrastructure improvements.
Other upgrades sought by 2030 included maintaining properties in the neighborhood and fixing the Hydroelectric Dam.
During Monday's session, the residents were also asked what characteristics of the neighborhood should be preserved. The existing businesses, single family homes and a general sense of peace and quiet in the area were the top things they said should be retained.
The residents weighed in on both the future vision for the neighborhood and its desirable characteristics in a colorful way by placing circular stickers on large sheets of paper taped to a wall. Stephanie Houk Sheetz, the senior city planner, said using those dots is ''an easy way for us to get an understanding of what the priorities are.''
The city staffers will compile the data accumulated Monday and send a summary of it to interested residents.
Reeck said Monday's session was the first of four public meetings on the planning process. The next one will be held in January or February, she said. A draft version of the plan for the neighborhood is expected to be introduced in July.