Ames City Council presented with Campustown redevelopment updates

Kayla Schantz

The Ames City Council was presented with an update of the Campustown redevelopment project at their meeting Tuesday night.

LANE4 Property Group, the Kansas-city based development company in charge of the renovation project, summarized their recent activities of meeting with different focus groups in the Ames community to the council, presenting ideas and addressing concerns for the project.

Hunter Harris, director of development for LANE4, said the company came with their own thoughts and ideas toward the project, and added them to the community response to form a “conceptional plan.”

“First and foremost, we want your feedback. We see this as a joint project,” Harris said.

The six focus groups, or “stakeholders,” are the city, university, university students, community, marketplace and developer, Harris said.

“[The] students are the key, really, to making this happen. We’re looking forward to more communication with them,” said Owen Buckley, president of LANE4. “This institution is dependent on the 28,000 students that live [in the area].”

The main concerns that had been brought up by the different focus groups are the lack of cleanliness and general maintenance of the area, the loud noise in the streets and the lack of available parking spaces.

Harris also addressed the claim from the public that Campustown is currently only directed toward the students. He said community members have expressed their interest in opening the area up to other audiences.

The LANE4 representatives said they want to make it a place where everyone can feel safe and comfortable, where students “can mix with other demographics.”

The ideas presented to the council included serving the residents, visitors and community as well as the students, providing more restaurants, providing daily need services — such as drug stores and grocery stores — and establishing places to hold public events such as speakers, art fairs and concerts.

The plan includes more general retail, office space, parking, a theater or another form of entertainment and a hotel to cater to visiting professors, parents and alumni, Harris said.

“I’ve seen the quality of Campustown be reduced. It’s just something that has happened over time,” said Jeremy Davis, City Council member. “I really want to see some things being improved … [it] looks promising.”

Matthew Goodman, another City Council member, said the plan is unique. The renovation will make the area a more inviting place, he said.

LANE4 will be giving a presentation to the public  at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Maintenance Shop in the Memorial Union.