Ames City Council moves forward with next step of Campustown redevelopment

James Heggen

The Ames City Council voted to approve a three party resolution between the city, university and Lane 4 Property Group, Inc. to move forward with the next step of the Campustown redevelopment project.

The resolution spells out obligations that all three parties agree to do in the next 180 days while Lane 4 studies the project.

City Manager Steve Schainker said no money is being exchanged at this point of the project, but because Lane 4 will be investing time and money in studying the project, it wanted to make sure the city would not search for other developers.

“In essence, it’s an exclusivity contract,” he said.

Some of the terms spelled out in the agreement include not negotiating with other companies for the project, not to transfer any city land in the “focus area” and to consider the project once a plan is made.

Lane 4 will conduct public input sessions and share a development concept, among other things, at the halfway point of the 180 days with the council.

On the university’s end, it also agrees, among other things, not to negotiate with other companies for “real estate development.”

The 180 days begins when all three parties have signed the agreement. Lane 4 has already done so, and the university is expected to sign soon.

The agreement also does not obligate any involved to move forward after the 180 days.

The city council also approved the $75,428 contract to develop a new website. The Santa Monica, Calif. based company, Vision Internet Providers, Inc., will be developing a website for the city as well as a website for CyRide.

Susan Gwiasda, public relations officer for the city of Ames, said the process of getting a new website has been long and extensive and that they were excited to move forward.

Gwiasda also spoke about the process of choosing Vision Internet Providers, Inc.

“Our project is fairly complex,” she said.

Gwiasda said there is some software the city wants to integrate into the new site that it already offers. The city looked for companies that had experience with what the city wants to include in the new site. She also said initially, there were interested companies from Ames, the state, the nation and even outside the country. However, none of the local companies submitted a proposal.

Matthew Goodman, city council member, also addressed concerns about having a non-local vendor, as he had received an e-mail about this issue. He said it seems like what the city has done is to “look for the best product for the best money,” which doesn’t always mean using companies from Ames.

“I wish we could always find an Ames company to do what the city needs to do,” he said.

Now that the contract has been approved, Gwiasda said the website should be ready in four to six months. During this time, the city will be working with the company for what to include on the site, including getting public input.

“It is our intent to involve people as much as they want to be involved,” she said.

However, she said CyRide wants to have its site ready close to the start of the fall semester.