Preview: Ames City Council to look at business proposals Tuesday


Photo: Yanhua Huang/ Iowa State Daily

Steve Schainker, City Manager for the City of Ames.

Devyn Leeson

Research, economic development and infrastructure: city council will take on multiple business related proposals at Tuesday’s meeting.

John Deere agricultural research

City council is looking into a proposal for a ten-year lease on approximately 50 acres of land along S. Riverside Drive west of the Ames Municipal Airport. The land would be beneficial for John Deere because it is near their Spray Lab and would 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.

“Staff has worked with John Deere to draft a 10-year lease for the use of 53.03 acres of Airport property with the starting rate of $236/acre/year (e.g., $12,515 for the first year),” according to city council documents. “The lease term begins on March 1, 2019 and goes through February 28, 2029.”

The city manager recommended the changes as the leased land will not lead to a loss in economic value while providing research opportunities for Iowa State.

Economic development for company 3M

3M is a company that invents and manufacturers consumer and industrial products. The company has an already established plant in Ames but wishes to expand with the permission of council.

3M would like to convert approximately 30,000 square feet of space currently used as a warehouse for more manufacturing purposes at their plant in Ames. The project is estimated to cost $30,185,400, $2,278,477 of which will come in the form of an assistance package from the Iowa Economic Development authority.

The City of Ames will not have to provide or match any funds for the project, but their sponsorship is necessary for the project to move forward. Approval of the project would create 16 jobs.

“3M is an international company with a long-term presence in Ames that is making a significant investment of capital to expand employment without the cost of additional City infrastructure or local match requirements,” according to documents stating the city manager’s recommendation to approve the project. “In keeping with the Council’s goal to promote economic development, this project will expand the number of quality jobs within our city.”

Barilla infrastructure deferral

The Barilla plant in Ames has identified concerns with constructing a sidewalk along Lincoln Way. The missing infrastructure was required under a 2015 council decision, but uncertainty on future zoning laws and development of that section of Lincoln Way has made Barilla hesitant to construct the sidewalk.

The changes must be completed to receive a building permit. Barilla is requesting the requirement be deferred until decisions are finalized along Lincoln Way so any construction is not premature.

City Council has two options outlined in agenda documents. Option one would be to create a three-year deferral on the infrastructure while the Lincoln Way improvements persist.

“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.”

Option two would have Barilla provide the funds for this and future infrastructure projects. The city would take on the responsibilities of contracting the work and making a timeframe for its completion.

City council staff recommends a combination of both options.

“Staff believes City Council should consider initiating a change that would allow for both deferral options explained above, as they could address different circumstances that may arise in the future,” according to city council documents.