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Council passes additions for Fitch Family Indoor Aquatic Center

Josue Aleman
Ames City Council Member Gloria Betcher listens to presentation during city council meeting, Nov. 28, 2023.

The Ames City Council unanimously moved to add three additions to the Fitch Family Indoor Aquatic Center.

The council moved to:

  • Add multi-purpose rooms and a walking area, which would add roughly $1.5 million to the cost of the project.
  • Add heating to the main entry concrete, which would add $50,000 to the project’s cost.
  • Add a tile edge to the lap and recreation pools, which would add an additional $65,000.

According to city documents, adding heating to the main entry concrete would mitigate the amount of snow tracked into the building and provide safe entry into the building during icy conditions.

Keith Abraham, director of parks and recreation for the city, said they have been in talks with CyRide regarding a new bus stop near the facility.

“We’re just finishing the construction document phase, and there were three phases, schematic design, design development and … construction documents, and you can see … this phase is [for] getting documents ready for bidding,” Abraham said.

Abraham shared a presentation with the council members that showed 3D models of the building both with and without the alternatives moved at Tuesday’s meeting.

“There’s just so many amazing aspects of this process that went into this and the building plans itself that just speak of the values of this community. We’re trying to serve so many people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a facility like this,” Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin said.

Ames Main Street

The council moved to allocate $25,000 for a Downtown Master Plan and approved an agreement with Ames Main Street to share the cost of producing the master plan, which cannot exceed the allocated cost.

According to city documents, the master plan aims to enhance gathering spaces downtown, create a stronger sense of downtown ambiance and encourage downtown residential and commercial developmental opportunities.

Sam Stagg, chair of Ames Main Street, said his team has had contributions from various members of city staff and council members, the Ames Economic Development Commission and the Ames Chamber of Commerce.

“The goal is to send a scope of services out to a couple design firms to get their formal proposals, and we’re estimating a fee for that work of approximately $50,000, and so the formal ask [to the council] tonight is to pay for up to 50% of that,” Stagg said.

Some of the areas of focus that Ames Main Street plans to send to a consultant include creating pathways to, from and between downtown destinations, enhancements to Cynthia Duff Plaza and enhanced gateway entry points.

The council also accepted the gift of a large, decorative snowflake from Ames Main Street. The snowflake will be on display throughout December, and city staff will decide where it will be placed.

Neighborhood Liquor

The council was set to decide on whether or not to renew a liquor license for Neighborhood Liquor Mart, an Ames smoke and liquor shop, but Mayor John Haila said the applicant sent an email withdrawing their application.

During a meeting in 2022, Ames Police Chief Geoff Huff advised the council not to renew the store’s license due to having failed three compliance checks in three years, with the business having failed a fourth Sept. 29.

Businesses that have been denied a renewed liquor license can appeal to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division and continue selling alcohol while they await a final decision. Due to the appeal process, Neighborhood Liquor Mart is able to sell alcohol until they have exhausted all avenues of appeal.

Additional actions

The council also:

  • Awarded a contract amounting to about $5.78 million to Gillig LLC, a manufacturer based in California, for the purchase of five 40-foot battery electric buses. The purchase of the buses is not to exceed the awarded amount.
  • Awarded a contract to In Situ Archaeological Consulting, LLC in the amount of $134,924 for a project that aims to provide a combination of new and replacement water supply capacity by constructing three new wells and an interconnecting pipeline to the Ames Water Treatment Plant.
  • Approved a change order that added roughly $228,264 for a contract with Keller Excavating Inc. for the city’s North River Valley Well Field and Pipeline Project.
  • Approved an amendment to the Contract Rezoning Agreement for the Auburn Trail Subdivision, which extended the timeline of the project for the contracts on the project.
  • Passed an ordinance establishing a 35 mph speed limit on Oakwood Road from University Boulevard to Timberland Road and a 40 mph speed limit from Timberland Road to State Avenue.
  • Approved the first reading of an ordinance that modifies a chapter of municipal code that reduces the demand threshold for large electric time-of-use rates, a voluntary option for large electric customers whose metered demand at any time exceeds 500 kVA, lowered from the previous 2,500 kVA.


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