City Council hears feedback on Capital Improvement Plan


Jacob Rice

Ames City Council member Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen speaks to a citizen about bike safety on Jan. 24.

The Ames City Council received comments from the public on the proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Tuesday, which can gain final approval on Feb. 14.

The co-founder and executive director of the Iowa Wildlife Center Marlene Ehresman spoke to the council about concerns regarding the current animal shelter.

“I’m so in favor of moving ahead faster than slower on getting a new Ames animal shelter and you all know it’s needed,” Ehresman said. “The ventilation is abysmal, the spacing is abysmal, the conditions for the animals as well as the staff just are not the quality that we should be expecting here in the City of Ames.”

There has recently been a die-off of waterfowl where Ames animal control had to dispose of over 40 animal carcasses, Ehresman said, which is emotionally draining for the staff.

Ehresman thanked the council for all of the work they had done but emphasized that this project needs immediate attention. The first proposal of the CIP did not include animal shelter improvements, but revisions may be made in the coming weeks.

Will Determan, an Ames resident who lives near S Grand Ave., delivered worries about the new S Grand expansion around S 4th St. and S 5th St.

“Currently there is only one safe crossing in this section, that being the stoplight on S 4th St.,” Determan said. “Unfortunately, that crossing is hard to get to from most of the apartments, and requires backtracking if you plan on going south.”

Determan said he appreciated the expansion of the road but suggested pedestrian walkways like an elevated crosswalk and pedestrian crossing lights. Determan’s remarks were focused on improving accessibility for handicapped and elderly persons and general pedestrian safety, which he also focused on during a council meeting last summer about S 2nd and 3rd St.

Ames Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO)

The planning organization held a transportation policy committee meeting comprised of officials representing the city of Ames, Iowa State University, CyRide, Story and Boone counties and the Ames Community School District. They met to approve or deny the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) four-year targets for roadway safety, performance goals for pavement, bridges, systems and freight and five-year targets for CyRide performance.

“[The Iowa DOT] tries to set a realistic target, so ideally we want fatalities to go down but if the data is showing that is not realistic then they’ll set a target that is more realistic with the data,” Transportation Planner Kyle Thompson said.

The Iowa DOT projects the number of fatalities to increase by 14 and serious injuries to increase by 23. The committee declined to direct the Ames Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to set its own targets and approved all of the Iowa DOT targets unanimously.

Additional Measures

The council unanimously moved to direct staff to prepare a draft allocation plan to submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding addressing homeless assistance by creating various affordable housing options. A public hearing will be held on the matter on or by March 31.

The council voted 5-0 to set Feb. 14 as the hearing for the sale of lots two through eight in the Baker Subdivision to Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa. Ward 2 Rep. Tim abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest as a former board member of Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa.

Cy’s Roost was supposed to gain a renewed liquor license in the consent agenda, meaning no discussion would be held on the matter, but Ward 1 Rep. Gloria Betcher wanted a further explanation from Ames Police Chief Geoff Huff. Similar to a story previously reported by the Daily, Huff explained that while they had 17 on-site citations, 13 of which were possession of a fake ID, compliance checks matter more than citations.

By having two passed compliance checks and Huff being assured the owner would address the citation problem, he suggested the council renew the license. Betcher was satisfied with the explanation and joined the rest of the council in approving the renewed license.

The previously reported Ioway Creek shared path was approved as part of the consent agenda.

Mayor John Haila encouraged people to attend the third community conversation on mental health at the Ames Community School District Board room on Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30. In a partnership with the school district, the conversation will be about mental health resilience, featuring former Iowa State Women’s Basketball player Lyndsey Fennelly.