Ames City Council discusses Capital Improvements Plan


Ames City Council met Tuesday night to discuss the proposed Capital Improvements Plan.

Kylee Haueter

During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Ames City Council discussed a proposed Capital Improvements Plan for 2021-2026. 

City of Ames Electric Director Donald Kom began the meeting by presenting his budget and proposing ideas for electric services in the city.

Kom said many of the projects being proposed had already been seen by the City Council in the past.

Two notable improvements Kom mentioned were the addition of more women working throughout electrical services and the addition of a unisex bathroom. 

Last summer’s derecho also drew attention toward areas that could use extra generators. 

“This will allow us to maintain voltage and bring voltage up in the city,” Kom said, adding that it would help decrease the repair time during an outage.

Kom summarized by saying they want to proactively replace equipment, have critical materials on hand, improve power plant boiler life and improve reliability of power plant units. 

There are currently no additional plans to move power lines underground, but there is ongoing discussion regarding it, Kom said.

Iowa State associate teaching professor of English and Ward One Rep. Gloria Betcher said she was glad to see more inclusion of women in the workforce as well as the construction of a unisex bathroom to include employees that may be transgender.

Keith Abraham, director of Ames parks and recreation, spoke after Kom finished his portion of the presentation.

Abraham said the Carr Park Bathhouse will be torn down and replaced with a shelter in the coming years. 

The department will also be making improvements to many different parks around Ames to aid in accessibility and repair old equipment. An access ramp will be added to Ada Hayden Heritage Park to increase accessibility to water activities for those with disabilities.

Seventeen playground replacements are proposed for the next five years.

Many of the playgrounds and parks will be renovated to accommodate those with disabilities.

Abraham also mentioned some improvements to the cemeteries that will be implemented, including the addition of a pavilion at the Ames Municipal Cemetery.

John Dunn, director of water and pollution control, shared his portion of the plans for the next five years, including water plant facility improvements and the implementation of a distribution system monitoring network.

The Well Field Standby Power project has been presented before, but will be accelerated in the aftermath of the derecho.

The East Industrial Park Elevated Tank will be delayed one year but can be accelerated if needed to match the pace of development. 

Public works Director John Joiner highlighted the East 13 Street Sanitary Sewer project that his department will be working on. 

Joiner also highlighted a new program making improvements to Skunk River.

He went through the street improvements and repair planned for the next five years.

Barbara Neal, director of transit, went over the planned projects for CyRide and said the greatest emphases are on vehicle replacement and rehabilitation and building and facility improvements. This includes creating better air quality in buildings.

Vehicles need to maintain safety while also meeting federal requirements. 

Funding from the CARES Act helped the transit department buy three battery-electric buses, a more eco-friendly option. 

Neal placed an emphasis on state and federal grants. Around 80 percent of transit funding comes from these grants.

City manager Steve Schainker overviewed the plans for the library, downtown programs, Campustown programs and other plans the council had previously seen. 

Schainker also explained the budget and debt limits and assured council members and the public that the projects in the document are doable. 

“There is some financial realism to this document,” Schainker said. 

Public feedback will be heard at the next council meeting, and a final decision will be made at the meeting Feb. 9. 

A recap of the meeting can be found on the Ames Channel 12 YouTube channel. The Capital Improvements Plan is also available online.