Good evening and welcome to a sultry edition of the Ames City Council live blog:
On the agenda tonight, the council will hear from Kingland Systems on their request for changes in the setback requirements for the expansion of their facilties on W. Lincoln Way. City code has set a specific distance a building has to be set back from a street as a way to prevent a "canyon effect" with tall buildings. It's not as much as concern for Kingland, as it sits on the very wide Lincoln Way.
The Council will also hear from Water and Pollution Control on planning a new water treatment plant on E. 13th St. The facility has a projected pricetag of $77 million--well above the original $68 million estimate. City staff is expected to suggest areas to scale back the project.
7:40PM: On the Kingland Systems item: City Manager Steve Schainker says the company wants $1.5 million in tax incentives on a $19 million dollar project. He says $10 to $11 million is construction costs.
8:00PM: Kingland Systems president Todd Rognes is addressing the Council. Says the company has employed more than 1,000 ISU students since they opened in Campustown.
8:05PM: Rognes says Kingland's intent is not to build facility and move on. He says "Campustown is our home, and will be for the forseeable future."
8:10PM: Rognes says Kingland will use about 25,000 square feet, will rent to ISU, and is in talks with large national retailer for 15,000 square feet of space.
8:25PM: Seems to be an ISU student vibe that they haven't been consulted on the Kingland plan. Council has been reminded a number of times that they make up half of Ames population. Interesting the "anti-corporate" vibe, considering Kingland's CEO, president, and three other top-level managers are ISU alums.
8:55PM: Clear that lines are being drawn up on this issue--preservationists and anti-corporate folks versus those who have waited a long time for ANY kind of redevelopment in Campustown.
9:00PM: Back at the podium, Kingland's Rognes highlights the fact that he and many in company are ISU alums.
9:01PM: Issue now before Council for discussion.
9:10PM: At-large Council member Matthew Goodman won't support TIF for Kingland, saying he doesn't think buildings should be destroyed, that every great redevelopment area has core historial reference. He sites Omaha's Old Market. Respectfully, he should Google "Jobber's Canyon+Omaha" and find out how much of that area was demolished 30 years ago to make way for what stands now.
9:20PM: Council directs staff to look at modified step-back provisions and TIF issues. Clearly, this issue has a lot of life left before Council, It will be interesting to see how this issue plays after November's elections.
9:35PM: Council back after a break, chambers have cleared out like a bar after a bad fight.
10:05PM: We have hit our "severe tire damge spikes" portion of the meeting.
10:10PM: NewsTalk 1430 KASI just got it's second "shout-out" of the meeting. w00t us!