By BILL SHEA
The creation of a complex full of fun things to do received a boost from the Fort Dodge City Council Monday night.
The council approved three measures that will help pay for extending a road to serve the privately owned family entertainment center slated to open next summer near First Avenue South and 32nd Street.
''I think this is going to be a wonderful project,'' said Councilman Kim Alstott.
The items approved by the council establish the legal framework in which the city will reimburse the center's owner, TJK Enterprises LLC of Fort Dodge, for the estimated $1.2 million cost of extending First Avenue South 1,200 feet east of 32nd Street.
The center will feature indoor and outdoor activities including go-carts, miniature golf, a mini bowling alley, bumper cars and video games. Tim and Kellie Guderian, who won a $200.8 million Powerball lottery prize six years ago, are key figures in TJK Enterprises. The Guderians, of Fort Dodge, and their business partner, Todd McCubbin, also of Fort Dodge, were at the council meeting but did not address the elected officials.
The council's actions regarding the entertainment center started with approving a resolution establishing an urban renewal area at its site. That allows the local government to use tax increment financing there. Tax increment financing occurs when increased property tax revenue from a given area is set aside to be reinvested in that area.
The elected officials then approved the first reading of a measure stating that tax increment financing will be used to support the entertainment center project. That must be approved by the council two more times in order to become effective.
Lastly, the council approved an agreement with TJK Enterprises stating that the local government will use tax increment financing to reimburse the company for its cost of extending First Avenue South.
There was no discussion of any of those items, which were quickly approved in the early minutes of the meeting. Councilman Andy Fritz was absent from the otherwise unanimous votes.
In other business, the council sold a vacant fire-damaged house at 1819 Seventh Ave. N. to Donald J. Hefley Jr., of Fort Dodge, for $400. Hefley will tear down the house this year and build a three-bedroom home on the site next year.
The council also hired MER Engineering Inc., of Fort Dodge, to design the reconstruction of parts of two streets at a cost of $59,500. The company will prepare plans for rebuilding the Avenue C hill and North 23rd Street between 10th Avenue North and Elmhurst Avenue.
The city engineering staff had recommended hiring Bolton & Menk, of Ames, to design those projects at a cost of $59,700. However, the City Council rejected that proposal on Nov. 5.
Council members also expressed their informal approval of a proposed zoning change that would allow buildings on a portion of Fifth Avenue South to be 80 feet back from the road if certain rules related to sidewalks, landscaping and building materials are met. The proposal would apply to Fifth Avenue South between 15th and 32nd streets.
The formal approval process for that change will begin with a Plan and Zoning Commission meeting today.