- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - The Fort Dodge City Council has hired a Des Moines company to oversee the renovation of the long-vacant Warden Plaza.

The council voted Monday to hire Formation Group Inc., The Messenger (https://bit.ly/2gwavYe ) reported. The company’s responsibilities will include developing a budget and schedule for the work, which will be done by KDG LLC of Kansas.

City manager David Fierke said the hiring is helpful because no one on city staff has the time to oversee the complex project.

The eight-story structure was built around 1925 and was once one of the most prominent buildings in Fort Dodge, but has been empty for a decade. Formation Group’s work on the building is expected to last three months, and the group will be paid $49,500.

Mayor Matt Bemrich has supported the hiring of the outside group, saying the company is an “extension of our staff.”

Councilman Dean Hill opposed the hiring, saying it’s too soon to hire anyone to oversee the project because the developer doesn’t have building ownership yet.

“Trust me, I want to see the Warden redeveloped as much as anyone, but I think this agenda item is premature,” Hill said.

A new recreation center may be attached to the Warden Plaza, and there’s a possibility of adding a space for fine arts performances inside. Under a memorandum with KDG that the council approved in August, the company would spend about $30 million to create residential and commercial space in the building.

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Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net


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