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FD leaders review 2012 area growth

Bemrich: ‘Things are definitely on pace’ for ‘vast improvements’

January 1, 2013
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS ( , Messenger News

The year 2012 departs a good one for Fort Dodge, according to local officials.

"All in all, I think 2012 was a pretty good year," Mayor Matt Bemrich said. "I think things are definitely on pace in our community for some vast improvements. Our economic outlook looks good with job creation and capital investment. I think infrastructure-wise we've made some great strides toward improvements on our roads and our water, sewer and storm sewer utilities."

The upcoming year promises further accomplishments and challenges.

"We had some difficulties with the crosstown connector, but I think we've worked through them. We planned out the future of the east region storm sewer and improvements on the east region and our downtown crosstown connector is on the capital improvement plan for later," Bemrich said. "So I'm excited to see those things take place in the 2013-14 years."

According to Kelly Halsted, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance economic development director, 2012 was a good year of growth.

"We've made a lot of progress," she said. "There's a lot more retail opportunities for the community, a lot more amenities coming with the family fun center and the trails that are continuing to be developed. And obviously economic development through industries growing, and then the continuance of the (North Central Ag Industrial) park, with CJ and Cargill, and the park being certified hopefully by next year and the work that's being done and the infrastructure being built out there."

The work was hard, Halsted said.

"It takes a village to build a project like that," she said. "The cooperation with the city and the county and the private industry and the state, of course, make a project like that work."

The developing ag park is an exciting prospect for Fort Dodge, Halsted said.

"We're preparing for the future growth out there," she said. "Once we have the site certified, making it shovel-ready for industry and companies to come in, it will make our location rise to the top of site selectors and companies that are looking to develop their facilities."

In response to the industrial growth, the GFDGA is also developing housing.

"Housing is also a really important thing for the community to support the industries that are coming here," Halsted said. "We've done an in-house housing marketing study that is now being marketed to developers to support the growth here in Fort Dodge."

The GFDGA is also helping to develop the local work force, Halsted said.

"We're working with the private industries on their work force needs and attracting more workers and helping people who are underskilled to gain more skills for those jobs," she said.

Not only a year of growth for Fort Dodge, but also for the newly formed GFDGA.

"With the Growth Alliance starting, a lot of work with that, getting a new organization put together by combining the Chamber and the Webster County Development Corp., branding and putting up a new website takes a lot of planning and effort, too," Halsted said.

Halsted said she's pleased with 2012.

"I think it's sometimes hard to be patient for all these moving parts to be put together and move forward, but once you look back at home much has been done you have to be proud of what's happening," she said.

It is only the beginning for the GFDGA, Halsted said.

"We hope to have our new offices in hopefully the first quarter or early second quarter of (2013) and that will be exciting to have all of our organizations in one place, meaning community development, small business development and the CVB," she said. "Having all those resources in one location is going to be our next challenge."

And there will be more growth still for Fort Dodge in 2013.

"We're working on all kinds of projects all the time," she said. "And people are interested in what's happening."



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