Webster Co. supervisors plan $11 million loan for nature center | News, Sports, Jobs


Funding for the new River’s Edge Discovery Center and Central River District Park is progressing.

On Tuesday, the Webster County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to move forward with issuing up to $11,000,000 of general obligation capital loan notes for the project.

A public hearing was held at Tuesday’s meeting to allow residents to voice their comments or objections to the proposed GO Bonds. No written comments or objections were submitted before the hearing and none were expressed during the hearing.

Further steps to issue the capital loan notes will be taken at a future meeting of the Supervisory Board.

The Board of Supervisors also approved the grant agreement between the county, the city of Fort Dodge and the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the $4 million Destination Iowa grant that the Discovery Center and Central River project District receives.

Webster County Director of Conservation Matt Cosgrove addressed the board, noting funding plans for the grant – $2 million will be spent on the Discovery Center; $200,000 for natural playscape in the Central River District; approximately $1.4 million for in-river components; $125,000 for river access; and $130,000 for a fishing spot and gazebo where Soldier Creek meets the Des Moines River.

In total, the project — which is a joint venture between the city of Fort Dodge and the county — will cost just under $20 million. The riverfront development and trail projects around the county are part of a quality of life package the city and county have been working on for more than a year, Cosgrove said.

The Fort Dodge City Council is expected to approve the grant agreement at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Supervisors also approved an advance payment of $11,376.20 to MidAmerican Energy Co. to install main electrical service at the River’s Edge Discovery Center site.

In other matters, Webster County telecommunications will improve for law enforcement and emergency management services in the eastern part of the county. Supervisors approved a $1,261,532 deal with Motorola Solutions Inc., to improve digital communications coverage in the Lehigh, Brushy Creek and Dolliver State Park areas.

Webster County transitioned its radio communications from analog to digital in 2020. The deal approved by supervisors on Tuesday continues construction on the original project. A new tower will be built near Lehigh as part of this new agreement.

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