City council considers next step on transit facility

Allison Suesse —

Ames City Council held a brief meeting Tuesday in which the members heard a number of updates for community projects — including an update on when the next steps to continue with the Intermodal Transportation Facility will take place.

The council approved a motion to approve the Intermodal Transportation Facility conceptual design contract with Neumann Monson architectural firm for an amount no more than $68,500. The money acquired from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant will not be available until May 17.

The Federal Transit Administration must approve a smaller phased design proposal on May 17. The city therefore approved the motion to hire an architect to work with the project team to develop a smaller phased concept, according to a council action form.

Sheri Kyras, CyRide transit director, answered council member Peter Orazem’s question about how the project team plans to go from the original $39 million proposal to $8 million. She said next week there will be a two-day workshop to decide some of the details.

Kyras also noted the workshop will discuss how to maximize parking and have some sort of transportation component.

The volunteer organization Ames Foundation presented council with a plan to beautify downtown Ames. Member Joyce Vegge spoke on behalf of the organization Tuesday and presented plans to build a decorative archway at Main Street and Duff Avenue. The group also has plans to replant gardens along Main Street.

The Ames Foundation hopes to raise $50,000 for the project and began fundraising initiatives Wednesday. “We feel that everyone will benefit from the beautification project,” Vegge said.

The council offered its unanimous support of the project. The beatification is not only about “street-scaping the Main Street District” but also promoting city pride, Vegge said.

The council also heard an update on the cost of winter snow and ice removal for the 2009 and 2010 winter season.

Staff said there was about 60 inches of snowfall this winter and came in about $200,000 over budget for snow and ice control. The staff also said this winter was “unusual” because the snow and ice removal vehicle fleet was required to, at one point during the winter, be on the roads for 24 hours straight.

In preparation for next winter, it was recommended that council approve a motion to purchase 700 tons of salt.