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Charles City Council advances $13 million senior residence project

Charles City Council advances $13 million senior residence project
By Bob Steenson,

The Charles City Council took the first official step this week toward approving a financial incentive plan for a proposed 70-unit senior living facility in town.

The council held a public hearing then passed a resolution adding the area at the southeast corner of the intersection of South Main Street and 11th Street to the South Grand Urban Renewal Area, meaning the project can use tax increment financing from that district.

City Administrator Steve Diers told the council that a development agreement with project developer Mark Holtkamp was not ready because the 18-acre property still needs to be legally subdivided, but he expected that agreement would be ready for council action at the Aug. 17 meeting.

Holtkamp, a developer from Solon who has built other senior living facilities in western Iowa and Nebraska, has proposed a $13 million facility that would serve senior residents through a combination of independent living, assisted living, memory care and nursing home rooms.

The city and Holtkamp have tentatively agreed on a tax rebate incentive to help finance the project, which would return to Holtkamp 100% of the additional property taxes created by upgrading the property, for 10 years, up to a maximum of $2 million.

The tax rebates would start after the project is finished, Diers said, adding that the package is constructed so it only impacts the city’s debt capacity one year at a time.

Holtkamp, who was on the phone with the council during the meeting, said he is excited to get going on the project, although actual construction would probably begin next summer and will take a year to 18 months to finish.
The project is expected to create a minimum of 30 full-time jobs.

Also at the meeting this week, the council:

• Approved preliminary plans and set a public hearing for a project upgrading water mains along parts of Highway 18 through the city prior to a state DOT project next year that will replace asphalt on a segment of the highway.

The city project will use horizontal directional drilling to replace existing 4-inch water mains with 8-inch mains in about a mile-long area, said City Engineer John Fallis.

“They have a drilling rig that they actually drill for a block and then they attach an 8-inch water main and pull that back,” he said. “They do that basically every block, so that we can replace the water main without having to remove and replace the entire roadway.”

The public hearing on the project will be at the 6 p.m. meeting Aug. 17.

• Approved preliminary plans and set a public hearing on a stormwater drainage improvement plan estimated to cost about $230,000.

Falls said the project will put in intermediate stormwater intakes on South Grand Avenue near the Comet Bowl to intercept water that inundates an area there; put in a diversion ditch in the 500 and 600 block of J Street to intercept stormwater from a vacant area east of houses there; and put in a bigger outlet to a deeper storm sewer by the handicapped entrance to the Charles City Arts Center to prevent a drain from backing up and surface water leaking into the basement.

The public hearing on that project will also be Aug. 17

• Passed the second reading of a new city ordinance making it illegal to deposit yard waste at the Shaw Avenue Brush Dump Site that was not created within the city limits.

• Approved an engineering agreement with Calhoun Burns and Associates for the construction phase of the the Charley Western Recreation Trail bridge over the Cedar River, for up to $200,000.

“We’re moving closer to the start of construction for the Charley Western Trail Bridge replacement project,” said Fallis. A preconstruction meeting was held Thursday with the city, the engineers, the Iowa DOT, the contractor and subcontractors to discuss details and schedules for the project.

• Approved a change order and work directive for the water resource recovery facility (WRRF).

Diers said there were a few changes, adding about $8,000, for items such as putting in plumbing in a room at the facility in case they want to install a toilet there, installing the frame and electrical outlet for a power heist the department already has to make it easier to service pumps, and adding additional clamps for the membranes on the digesters that are part of the system.

A change in the electrical access boxes suggested by the project electrician will save $24,685, so the total difference in cost is a reduction of $16,546.

A larger issue with the WRRF which the council discussed at a workshop meeting last week is the necessity to spend up to about $100,000 to remove about 70 truckloads of old tires, appliances and other garbage that was discovered in areas where new pipes are being laid, said Lance Aldrich with Fox Engineering.

The site is being built near an old landfill, and Aldrich said a fence that was being used to gauge the location of the old landfill was moved about 10 years ago, leading them to think the old landfill was farther away than it actually is.

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