By Bob Steenson, email@example.com
The Charles City Area Development Corp. continues to move forward on getting a state-certified industrial development site, members of the CCADC board heard at a meeting this week.
Tim Fox, executive director of the Area Development Corp., went through the long list of steps that must be completed before a site can be certified, and gave a progress report on each one.
The group has until Aug. 20 to complete the current phase of the certification process, and almost all of the steps in this phase have been completed or have been started, except for a “wetlands delineation” study that can’t begin until May because of the weather.
The Area Development Corp. has an option to buy about 76 acres on the northeast corner of the intersection of South Grand Avenue and U.S. Highway 218 (the Avenue of the Saints), at a price of a little over $2 million.
The funding source to purchase the property has not been decided, but it would likely be through bonds sold by Charles City or Floyd County and repaid through tax increment financing (TIF) funds and through the sale of the property to an industrial company or companies.
As Fox explained to a new member of the board, “We’re trying to get the site south of Kwik Star on South Grand certified for industrial development. Once it’s certified it’s shovel-ready — it’s ready to go.
“Businesses make decisions really quick any more, so everything has to be ready to go in six months, and that’s why we’re going through the site certification,” he said.
“There’s 22 certified sites in Iowa, and we hope to be 23.”
Here are Fox’s comments on each of the steps in this phase of the certification process:
• The environmental site assessment is finished, he said, and no RECs — recognized environmental conditions — such as hazardous substances or petroleum products were found.
• A reimbursement agreement with the Iowa Economic Development Authority says that if the site is used for any purpose other than for an industrial park in the first three years after is it certified, the group will owe the state $24,500 in reimbursement for its costs. If the site is used for other than an industrial park in the two years after that it would owe the state $12,500.
“That’s only if we don’t use it as an industrial park,” Fox said. “If it is sold, gifted or transferred for any other reason then we own them that money, which makes sense to me.”
• The site survey and title opinion are being worked on, and the CCADC has a contract with a surveying company.
• Terracon Consulting will do the wetlands survey beginning in May. Terracon is based in Olathe, Kansas, but has offices in more than half a dozen Iowa cities.
• Terracon is also working on the threatened and endangered plant and animal species study.
• Bear Creek Archeology of Cresco did the cultural resources investigation, and Fox said he sent two copies of the report to the State Historic Preservation Office, which has 45 days to make comments.
Soil borings have been done for the geotechnical study, but results aren’t back yet.
“Surprisingly, this is one of the major reasons properties fail is that it’s not buildable,” Fox said. “I was really surprised by that. I figured soil is soil, but what do I know.”
• The CCADC is under contract with WHKS & Co. engineers in Mason City for the topographic survey; building pad cost, timeline and visual depiction; and site concept plan.
• The Area Development Corp. is working with the company that owns the fiber optics broadband loop that goes around downtown Charles City to come up with a plan to provide telecommunications infrastructure to the site.
• No covenants or restrictions have been set for the site, but if it is felt they are needed the Area Development Corp. Asset Management Committee will look at the covenants and restrictions on other state-certified development sites to see what night be appropriate here, Fox said.
Fox said the certification process is being paid for through unrestricted funds from the Southwest TIF District Development Park. His budget for the project is $45,000, and Fox said he is doing his best to stay within that.