City Council discusses affordable housing conference, airport popularity

Christie Smith

Ames City Council approved an affordable housing conference and discussed approval ratings of the Ames Municipal Airport update at a meeting Tuesday night.

City Council voted unanimously to partner with A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy and Iowa State to host a conference on creating affordable housing in Story County.

Iowa State and the city of Ames have agreed to provide $5,000 each in funding for the conference and to provide staff members for the event planning committee.

The Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau will also provide conference-planning assistance.

A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy said the conference will focus on affordable housing solutions for low and moderate-income earners in Story County.

City Council has said that creating affordable housing options in Ames is a priority.

The conference is scheduled for March 29 at the Scheman Building on Iowa State’s campus.

City Council also discussed results of the annual Ames Residential Satisfaction Survey.

More than 1,300 city residents and 1,200 ISU students were randomly selected to participate in the survey. ISU students completed 40 percent of the returned surveys.

Many of the responses on items such as funding for CyRide or fire protection were consistent with past surveys; a majority of respondents were in favor of continuing the same level of funding that is currently in place.

A new item, however, was introduced to the survey with a somewhat unexpected result, the city said.

The city added a question about support for funding the Ames Municipal Airport. Approximately 75 percent of respondents said the airport was “somewhat or very unimportant.”

“This airport’s approval rating is tied with Richard Nixon’s approval rating in August 1974, the month he resigned,” said Councilman Matthew Goodman.

The $2.9 million airport update plan includes a new terminal and hangar not only to attract corporate flights but also to provide updated facilities for ISU flight students.

The council said it needs additional time to consider the results of the survey and will address them at a later meeting.