City makes application to state for funds to improve prime I-35 development site

The City of Clear Lake plans to make application to the state for funds to support reconstruction of a portion of North 32nd Street which intersects with Highway 122 just east of Interstate 35 northbound.  Paving, sub-drain, storm sewer and sanitary sewer improvements would help prepare the former Andrews Pre-Stressed Concrete site for redevelopment.

Chad Schreck, executive director of the North Iowa Economic Development Corridor, reviewed a proposed grant application, due by Feb. 1, with the Council.   The estimated total project cost is roughly $643,000, however, not all costs are grant eligible.  The RISE application submitted to the state is for $254,694, which is 50 percent of the eligible project costs.

Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory explained the city’s application would fall under the Local Development component of the Iowa DOT’s RISE (Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy) Program.   That portion of the program supports local economic development projects that do not meet the “immediate opportunity” criteria.  However, Flory noted the Council could change its course and file the application as an “immediate opportunity,” which the state considers as an ongoing process.

The project involves the re-construction of 800 linear feet of North 32nd Street using eight-inch thick PCC paving and infrastructure improvements.

Flory and Schreck said they expect the funding application to be well received by the state, noting the project meets the goal of the RISE project, which is to assist in providing improved access to development ready sites.  Projects targeted for eligible activities, such as assisting in significant tourism resources, or supporting industrial, manufacturing, warehouse or professional development, are favored.

“We think this site fits that very, very well,” said Schreck.  “The amount we are seeking is considered small, but we feel like this site is going to have a pretty big economic impact.”

RISE applications made under the Local Development provision are awarded semi-annually.  Schreck said he does not expect an announcement of grant approval until April.

Other business

In other business at their Jan. 15 meeting, the Council gave its final approval to an ordinance which will change the meeting time of City Council meetings to 6 p.m., rather than 6:30.  The next regular meeting of the Council will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5.

City Administrator Flory also reviewed the proposed Public Works Operations and Maintenance Superintendent job description. Due to the recent retirement of the Public Works shift leader, Dave Whitehurst, city staff was able to review the job description and re-evaluate the duties of the position.  Flory proposed deleting the Shift Leader position from the official job description manual of the City of Clear Lake and creating the position of Public Works Operations & Maintenance Superintendent with a beginning salary range of $60,000 to $70,000 annually.

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