Ames approves low-income housing development plan


The Ames City Council in the fourth Steering Committee meeting discussed the components of the Ames Climate Action Plan.

Finn Mcnally

A plan for a multi-family housing development using low-income housing tax credit was passed by the Ames City Council. 

The development will be built at 321 State Ave. and the council is hoping to start construction before the end of 2022.

Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin was the only member to vote against the plan.

The development is being contracted to a construction company called Prairie Fire. The council approved Prairie Fire’s initial plan for the 37-unit project.

Prairie Fire submitted an application to the city for a 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit but was unsuccessful, leaving the funding short of the originally approved project. Prairie Fire and council staff discussed what a project would look like with a 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The development would have to make compromises, including a reduction to 30 units. 

The council discussed whether to move forward with the 4 percent proposal or continue working with Prairie Fire to find a better solution. All members except Gartin voted to move forward.

“When we first had this proposal, it was a much different opportunity for us, and I think this is a very inferior project,” said Gartin. “It’s interesting that today is marked as a proclamation for fair housing, and we’re going the opposite from where that started.”

Gartin said they initially looked at a mixture of affordable units and regular market units in reference to the current proposal, which only allots affordable units. He said that the families and children would miss out on the benefits of a mixed housing development. 

“The goal of having this done soon is valuable, but that has to be outweighed by the possibility of getting a much better project,” said Gartin. “Whether this project starts in 2022, 2023, 2024— doesn’t matter. What I think matters is that we get a project that’s gonna serve the families.”

During the meeting, Mayor John Haila proclaimed April 2022 to be Fair Housing Month.

The council approved a resolution to name the future indoor aquatic center “Fitch Family Indoor Aquatic Center.” The resolution also named the aquatic center’s therapeutic pool the “Mary Greeley Medical Center Therapeutic Pool” and its zero-depth entry pool and play structure the “Fareway Fun Zone.”

The council also approved a resolution that authorized Mayor Haila to sign an agreement that would fund the restoration of 40 acres of native prairie. The land is west of Moore Memorial Park, and the restoration is expected to reduce the land’s nitrogen output by 69 percent.

The next city council meeting will be April 26 and can be attended in person at Ames City Hall or live-streamed on the city’s website or YouTube page.