Good evening and welcome to this Ames City Council live blog. A short, but packed agenda this evening:
The council will consider a resolution setting March 4, 2014 as the date for a special election on a $19 million bond issue that would pay for the city's half of of a $38 million renovation and expansion of the Iowa State Center's convention space. Remember, if the issue goes before voters, it would need 60% approval to pass.
The Council will also consider the $2 million, 10 year tax abatement for Kingland System's $20 million building on West Lincoln Way. It's expected the council will mandate the building's first floor be used for retail space-- office and other uses would be on the building's upper floors.
The council will also give staff direction on flood mitigation alternatives. Staff's top alternative would call for the reconstruction of the Hwy. 30 bridge over the Skunk River and some channel work on the Skunk and Squaw Creek. The bridge plan would need approval from the Iowa Department of Transportation. The city is expected to ask for FEMA grants to cover some of the plan's costs.
7:25PM: 2nd Ward Council Member Jami Larson is not in attendence this evening. Lots of people in the crowd tonight--much interest in the Campustown and ACVB bond issue items.
7:35PM: Outgoing 1st Ward Council member Tom Wacha makes an interesting comment about a proposed retirement community on Stange Rd. in north Ames. He joins At-Large member Matthew Goodman in expressing concern that the project will sit on some of the last developable land in the Ames Community School District without adding housing that could be occupied by families with kids.
7:55PM: Council is taking up the bond issue election date item...
8:00PM: Lots of people lined up to urge council support for an issue they will likely approve.
8:05PM: Yep...it's a pep rally...
8:10PM: Iowa State Center director Mark North is detailing all the conventions and meetings Ames used to host, but has lost because of a lack of space.
8:20PM: Not surprisingly, the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission are on board...
8:25PM: The Council sets the bond issue vote date of March 4th, and will ask the ACVB to pay the $15,000 election cost from it's budget, dervied from hotel-motel taxes.
9:25PM: Council fails to pass flood mitigation plan, as motion mustered a 3-2 vote. Resolution must have four votes to pass. Issue can be reconsidered at the next meeting.
9:39PM: Council is talking about Kingland TIF: 4th Ward Council member Victoria Szopinski and At-Large Council member Matthew Goodman want Kingland to maintain retail space on building's first floor in perpetuity after 10 years of abatement. A compromise between the company and the city would obligate the company to hold to 75% of retail space for an additional 10 years after the TIF runs out. The measure passes, even after 1st Ward Council member Tom Wacha originally objects to the compromise, saying the company should be under NO obligation to the city after the TIF runs out.