Council gives support to housing projects
Funds earmarked for developments at former hospital site and south side of city
Money from the local government will be used to support a pair of housing construction projects in Webster City, the City Council decided Monday.
On a 4-1 vote, the council earmarked up to $100,000 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in a bid to increase the chances that the Iowa Finance Authority will provide money for duplexes on the property where Hamilton Hospital once stood.
And on a unanimous vote, the council OK’d up to $91,000 in tax increment financing money to support the construction of nine homes on the southeast side of the city.
In both cases, the money would be spent on sidewalks, water lines, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and other infrastructure.
Hamilton Hospital site
On Sept. 17, the council approved an agreement in which WC Partners LLC, of Kansas City, Missouri, would buy 6.47 acres on Ohio Street where the hospital once stood for $153,000. The city would retain a half-acre spot where the American Legion has a building. It would also keep the popular sledding slope commonly called Hospital Hill.
The developer proposes to build 16 duplexes and a small playground on the property.
However, the deal is dependent on WC Partners LLC getting assistance from the Iowa Finance Authority.
”They need help from us to make their application stand out, score more points and be awarded for our project,” Planning Director Karla Wetzler told the council Monday.
She presented a plan in which up to $100,000 of the city’s roughly $780,000 in CDBG money would be be committed to the project for infrastructure.
”We have to use it or lose it,” she said of the money.
Community Vitality Director Lindsay Henderson said the CDBG money is federal funding that was allocated to Webster City through the state.
Mayor John Hawkins and councilmen Matt McKinney, Brian Miller and Logan Welch voted to earmark the CDBG money for the project.
Councilman Jim Talbot voted against the plan. Following the meeting, he said he has ”a real concern” about spending government money for private development projects. He said he believes private companies shouldn’t be subsidized to complete a project.
Talbot also opposed the agreement with WC Partners LLC. He objected to the deal because he said it will keep the property ”tied up” until the developer learns if the Iowa Finance Authority money will be awarded.
Other new housing
Ridge Development LLC, of Marion, is building nine new single family homes on Bicentennial Court and Oakwood Drive. Wetzler said two of the houses are completed and have been sold.
”The quality that he is doing is awesome,” she said.
Wetzler said all of the houses will be done within three years.
The council voted unanimously to give the developer up to $91,000 in tax increment finance money to pay for infrastructure associated with the new homes.
Tax increment financing occurs when increased property tax revenue from a desiginated area is set aside to be renivested in that area.
Wetzler also reported signs of progress on a new apartment building near Van Diest Medical Center.
The 30-unit buiding will be on Edgewood Drive. Wetzler said a building permit has been approved and a pre-construction meeting was held on Friday.
”We are moving forward,” she said.
That apartment building will be just one element of a planned unit development proposed by Green Stream Homes of Iowa LLC, of Des Moines.
The vision for the complete development includes two apartment buildings, 64 duplexes, and three senior living facilities including independent living, assisted living and a nursing home.
The development will cover about 15 acres between the hospital and Edgewood Drive.