City officials respond to Cyclone Sports Complex reactions

Jake Lovett

In the wake of Tuesday’s public meeting, residents of the Ash Avenue and Storm Street neighborhoods still had several unanswered questions.

Those questions may not be answered for at least another month.

The proposed plans for the Cyclone Sports Complex — the new home for the ISU track, softball and soccer teams — have taken heat for lighting, traffic and drainage concerns from neighbors in the area.

However, Vice President for Business and Finance Warren Madden said the plans — currently just schematic designs — must first be approved by the Iowa Board of Regents before engineering plans can begin. The soonest the plans can be approved by the Regents is at their March 23 meeting in Ames.

Despite the fact that no planning has begun on drainage in the area — the major sticking point with the community — Madden and city officials have said that discussions have taken place on the subject.

“Our engineering staff has been working with the university for probably two months, at least,” said Bob Kindred, assistant city manager. “Our engineers have worked with them and are cooperating to make sure that whatever they do build fits into the larger neighborhood.”

Many residents of Ash Avenue expressed frustration that despite repeated questions at the first public meeting Dec. 8 and at Tuesday’s meeting, no answers were provided from city officials.

And although Kindred was in attendance Tuesday representing the city — many officials were at the City Council meeting held the same night — he felt it was not his place to chime in and address the concerns.

“We’ll have our opportunity with the neighbors to discuss their concerns,” Kindred said. “It did not seem appropriate for me to stand up and potentially redirect the meeting that Iowa State had called to communicate its plans and situation with the neighborhood.”

Kindred said the city has meetings each October to discuss the capital improvements program, taking community input on areas that need more attention or city funds.

However, he also said Tuesday’s meeting was the first he had heard of such complaints from the neighborhoods in that area.

“This Cyclone Sports Complex has brought a ton of attention to the problems in this area,” Kindred said. “Which, like I said, is kind of a favor to us, because without that we just haven’t gotten this input or feedback from people who live there. We’ve been focusing our resources on other areas where we know there are needs.”

Jeremy Davis, city councilman who represents much of the area surrounding the proposed facility, said he felt discussion at Tuesday’s meeting was much more productive than the Dec. 8 meeting.

Davis said he felt the university’s changes from the first draft plans shown in December — many of which were based on community feedback — “alleviated a number” of those concerns.

“I thought people were able to communicate their viewpoints a lot more effectively this time,” Davis said. “Just the fact that there was some willingness to make some compromises was also a leading factor that helped make the conversation a little better”

Davis said continued dialogue between both the city and the university and both parties with the neighborhoods will be key to “ensure that the city is able to take on the demands” of the project.

Kindred said that the city is “always open to citizen input,” and that it will continue to attempt to communicate with the citizens of the neighborhood.

“If the citizens aren’t telling us, at least we go to Iowa State’s meeting and get a better feeling for the concerns they have,” Kindred said.