Ames City Council passes multiple business proposals


Gillian Holte/Iowa State Daily

Ames City Council convenes at their Aug. 28 meeting.

Devyn Leeson

Three business-related motions passed unanimously at Ames City Council on Tuesday, allowing for economic development, research opportunities and changes to the City of Ames code books.

The Sept. 11 meeting opened with Mayor John Haila declaring the month of September “School Attendance Awareness Month.”

John Deere research

With no discussion from members of city council or the public, a plan to lease approximately 53 acres of land to John Deere for research opportunities passed unanimously.

The proposal, a ten-year lease on 53.03 acres of land along S. Riverside Drive west of the Ames Municipal Airport, would give John Deere beneficial space to use near their spray lab and allow for research opportunities.

The lease specifies their spray equipment can be field tested on crops like corn and soybeans to be planted in the leased area.

The lease term will begin on March 1, 2019 and goes through Feb. 28, 2029.

In council documents, Steve Schainker, Ames city manager, recommended the changes as the leased land would not lead to a loss in economic value while providing research opportunities for Iowa State and the Ames community at large.

Economic development for company 3M

The council also passed a request to allow for 30,000 square feet of warehouse space at the company 3M in Ames to be converted and used for manufacturing purposes. The project has a substantial cost behind it that the City of Ames does not have to contribute to.

3M is a company that invents and manufacturers consumer and industrial products. The warehouse conversion is estimated to cost $30,185,400. Of the cost, $2,278,477 will come in the form of an assistance package from the Iowa Economic Development authority.

The project would create 16 jobs in Ames that are rated as “high quality jobs” based on the standards the city of Ames provides.

In comments before moving forward with the motion, Haila said he was thankful for 3M investing in the community and creating quality jobs while “asking nothing in return.”

“On behalf of the council and city, thank you,” Haila said.

Barilla infrastructure deferral

City council unanimously passed a motion to have the city attorney add two new measures to the code. The measures would help Barilla and possibly others in the future with infrastructure deferrals in extenuating circumstances.

The Barilla plant in Ames has identified concerns with constructing a sidewalk along Lincoln Way. A sidewalk infrastructure project, which is required under a 2015 change in the code, faces some uncertainty as there are currently discussions on rezoning that section of Lincoln way. Barilla saw building this project as pre-emptive as the zoning laws could make the sidewalk unnecessary.

City staff gave two options to deal with the situation. Council decided on adding a combination of the two.

Option one allows there to be a three year deferral on an infrastructure project while uncertainty over said project is being decided.

“This option would be beneficial to Barilla to allow for more time to finalize their onsite improvement plans and the City’s street improvement plans for Lincoln Way,” according to city council documents. “Allowing such a deferral would not be appropriate when existing improvements (such as connecting sidewalks) are located near the site.”

Ward Two Representative Tim Gartin said this should be looked at cautiously and only used in rare circumstances to ensure necessary infrastructure is built in a timely manner.

Schainker agreed, but said Barilla’s situation would describe one of those rare circumstances.

Option two allows for an organization to provide the funds to the city for their infrastructure projects. The city would take on the responsibilities of contracting the work and making a timeframe for its completion.