FORT DODGE, Iowa- Community leaders from Fort Dodge are in North Carolina competing as a part of America’s Best Cities competition.
Fort Dodge is the only Iowa community in the finals, along with 15 other towns from across America.
Some 200 people gathered for a watch party over the noon hour. The community gathering was also included in the presentation via FaceTime live on the internet back to the presentation site in North Carolina. Fort Dodge was the only town to include residents back home in the presentation.
A two day seminar, competition is taking place this week. Fort Dodge is giving a presentation this afternoon on why they should be named a final community in the ABC competition.
Eight winning communities will each receive $100,000 to used toward a community betterment project. Finalists will compete for a $3 million dollars first prize, a 2 million dollar second place, or a 1 million dollar third place finish.
Fort Dodge is pitching a project to the meeting to improve the Northwest River District part of town.
“We’ve really got to create a sense of place, we’ve had some success, we currently have a very low unemployment rate,” said Mayor Matt Bemrich at the North Carolina presentation. “As you can tell we’ve had an uptick in our population, as a result of creating a better place to live.”
Organizers of the party were surprised by the large turnout. They spread the word on social media and local news media calling people to attend.
We said let’s have a watch party at home and cheer them on and support them from right here at home,” said Vickie Reeck, Community Development Manager for the City. “We were shocked to have so many people show up and provide support for our community.”