Four things Ames City Council approved Tuesday

Maggie Curry

The first August meeting for Ames’ City Council had a full council and a full meeting. Here are three things that were approved that night:

1. The city council approved a one-time payment of $30,833 for a CyRide Bus Turnaround to be constructed on the Iowa State University property with the Towers residence halls, Wallace and Wilson. The turnaround would benefit a proposed Gold Route to operate between Towers and Schilletter Village. 

CyRide would cover 50 percent of the turnaround construction cost at $92,500. They are asking the rest be split in thirds between the City of Ames, Iowa State University and Iowa State’s Student Government at $30,833 each.

Read more on the turnaround in our previous article.

2. ASSET volunteers presented their priorities for the coming year. ASSET, or Analysis of Social Services Evaluation Team, has existed in Story County since 1985, according to its website. It brings together five major funders of human services programs in a collaborative, volunteer-led effort to coordinate local planning, assess needs, evaluate the capabilities of agencies to provide programs and recommend funding for programs.

ASSET priorities recommended for fiscal year 2018/19 are the same as those adopted by the City Council for fiscal year 2017/18:

  • Meet basic needs, with emphasis on low to moderate income,
    • Housing cost offset programs, including utility assistance
    • Sheltering
    • Quality childcare cost offset programs, including daycare and State of Iowa licensed in home facilities
    • Food cost offset programs, to assist in providing nutritious perishables and staples
    • Transportation cost offset programs for the elderly and families
    • Legal assistance
    • Disaster response
  • Meet mental health and chemical dependency needs
    • Provide outpatient emergency access to services
    • Provide crisis intervention services
    • Provide access to non-emergency services
    • Ensure substance abuse prevention and treatment is available in the community
  • Youth development services and activities
    • Provide services for social development

In addition, Council Members Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen asked for the addition of dental services under basic needs.

3. The council also approved a resolution awarding contract to RDG Planning & Design of Des Moines, Iowa, for Healthy Life Center Planning Study in an amount not to exceed $93,45. Read more on the proposed Healthy Life Center in our article from earlier this summer.

4. In addition, council approved a resolution approving Professional Service Agreement with Toole Design Group of Madison, Wisconsin, in an amount not to exceed $99,994 for development of Ames Complete Streets Plan. The budget was set at $100,000.

The development of a Complete Streets Plan for Ames will be a critical step in advancing the City Council’s transportation goals for the community, according to the council action form. It will establish a vision for what the future of the Ames roadway network could look like, as well as providing the tools and technical guidance needed to achieve that overall vision. The plan will also be developed so that it is consistent with the Ames Area MPO’s complete streets policy.

Staff said the plan would make things tangible and transparent to the public what Ames has already been doing in an effort to make streets “complete.” It would provide templates for future projects.

What a complete street is depends on the population’s needs, paired with national and state standards.

Council Member Chris Nelson questioned when the council would become involved.

Staff said public meetings are included and just need to be scheduled. The current scope would bring a draft back to the council following public input, but would not look for council input prior to that time, approximately two-thirds through the plan’s creation, staff said.

Council Member Tim Gartin said he felt the input should be earlier in the process. He also said a conversation need to be had about the Complete Streets and the cost behind it. He also said attendance at public input had been “abysmal” and wanted to know how the city would inform people of the forums.

Staff had debated online input options, and Toole Design Group had noteworthy social media presence.

The vice president of the Ames Bicycle Coalition expressed his support of the Complete Streets project.