Campustown master developer visits Ames


The blue area indicates the boundaries of Campustown

James Heggen

More coffee shops, grocery stores and park space could be on the horizon for Campustown.

The suggestions came as community leaders continued to develop plans for the area’s future.

Lane4 Property Group, the master developer for the Campustown revitalization project, held meetings last week to gather public input for the redevelopment project. About 60 people attended the public meeting. 

Many during the meeting pointed to Stomping Ground as a strength, because it provided a place where students, faculty and staff and other members of the community could come to gather. Its parking availability, which many complained was in short supply in Campustown in general, was also listed as an asset.

Ian Ringgenberg, graduate student in interdisciplinary graduate studies, said he would like to see “more integration with a person’s day on campus,” such as a place to study. 

“That way people from campus will be attracted to go to something there,” he said. 

He said right now Stomping Grounds does a good job of this, because many people would rather study or meet a professor there than on campus.

Jonathan Reed, owner of Stomping Grounds, said one of the reasons he likes Campustown is because of its location. He also called the area “full of life.”

“I think we’ve created something that’s unique,” he said. 

Another popular suggestion was to bring in some kind of grocery or drug store, so those in the area would not have to drive so far to buy groceries. 

Julie Strum, resident of Campustown, suggested possibly a smaller version of Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s, which she said could attract not only residents of the Campustown area but Ames community members in general.

“I certainly would go,” she said. 

The Ames City Council and ISU officials entered into an agreement in May with Lane4 to create redevelopment plans. City and university officials have worried for years about the lack of commercial diversity in Campustown, along with issues of cleanliness and rowdy behavior from bar patrons, which they say have hurt the area’s appeal.

Peter Orazem, City Council member and professor of economics, said he has lived in Ames for 28 years and thinks Campustown has been on a “downhill trajectory” for some time, but thinks it has a lot of potential. 

“I for one think Campustown is critical for the future of the town, the future of the university and our ability to attract people from other states to come to Iowa State,” he said. 

Some sort of open area or green space was another suggestion. Several students warned that such an area should be immune to destruction because of events like Veishea. 

Hunter Harris, director of development for Lane4, said the next step will be working with the design team to take into account the suggestions gathered at the sessions, as well as market research, to come up with a concept. He also said there will be other opportunities for input in the upcoming weeks and months while a plan is developed for the area. 

Harris said those with more ideas for the project should contact Lane4 at: [email protected].