Ames City Council Approves District’s Final Application for Reinvestment

The Ames City Council approved the final application for the Iowa Reinvestment District, a critical step in funding the future indoor aquatic center.

Days before it was submitted, Ames Housing and Planning Director Kelly Diekmann submitted the final application that could earn the city $10 million in tax refunds over 20 years. The city initially requested $21.6 million and could see the current rebate allocation increase or decrease with the final request.

The planned neighborhood includes approximately $192.1 million of private and public projects around downtown Ames.

The 73-acre neighborhood downtown and along Lincoln Way includes the future Downtown Plaza and a project called the Linc, consisting of a 142-room full-service hotel, apartments, offices and retail space .

For subscribers: Future of Ames’ Proposed Indoor Municipal Pool Lies on Iowa’s Reinvestment District Program

The first phase of the Linc, a private development on the Lincoln Way Corridor, is valued at $79.5 million. The second phase is expected to cost $78 million.

Despite their inclusion in the application, neither the Linc nor the downtown plaza will be funded by the tax rebate they accrue.

The potential $10 million rebate would partially pay off a $21.1 million obligation for the new aquatic center, which is scheduled to be built next year. The cost of the aquatic center is estimated at $30.1 million, with one-third of the funding to be covered by fundraising.

Tuesday's Ames Town Council meeting included updates on a development north of the railway tracks, off the main street of Ames, which will bring parking, a hotel and retail space to the area .

The city withdrew two projects from the bid: the Onondoga Rehabilitation Project at 5th and Burnett, which is no longer eligible because it is complete, and a second hotel on the east side of Kellogg, which was eliminated due to a lack of detail.

Continued: Proposal to ‘Amplify Downtown’: Ames City Council Receives Update on Lincoln Way Corridor Development

Even without those projects included, Diekmann said Tuesday the city still believes the area will still be able to top the $10 million in taxes needed to receive the full refund.

Council also on Tuesday approved preliminary plans for the downtown plaza included in the reinvestment district, which is estimated to cost $4.5 million. The plaza would bring an ice rink downtown in the winter and a water canal in the summer, as well as green spaces and an area for food trucks.

The city plans to begin construction this summer and open the plaza in June 2023.

Ames City Council heard an update Tuesday on the plaza project that will bring ice skating in the winter and a wading pool in the summer to downtown Ames.

Council member Tim Gartin asked if this would be a place where homeless people would spend the night and if the park would have hours of operation. Abraham said the plaza will operate as a park with hours from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Danielle Gehr is a political and government reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at [email protected], by phone at (515) 663-6925 or on Twitter at @Dani_Gehr.

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