Local YSS anxious to purchase current police facility
Executive Director of the local Youth & Shelter Services organization David Hicks said the organization is extremely grateful for all the help the city has provided the non-profit since the July 19 tornado.
Specifically, the vicious storm displaced the organization from its East State Street offices it occupied for many years.
City officials offered YSS use of the basement in the Marshalltown Police Department headquarters, 22 N. Center St. YSS staff, which manage a large number of youth-oriented social service programs primarily in Marshall County, moved in not long after Aug. 1.
They currently share the large area with the Marshall County Communication Commission’s (MCCC) E-911 equipment and operators.
Perhaps as early as March, YSS may have the area all to themselves as the MCCC may be moving that month to the new, joint MPD/MFD facility under construction in the 900 block of South Second Street.
With that move to happen in the immediate or near future, Hicks and YSS board members are hoping the city will continue their generosity by selling the building to them for $35. YSS offered to buy the MPD building last year after the city issued a public Request for Proposal to any organization or individual to buy the property.
Hicks said the offer of $35 was linked to the organization’s 35 years of providing services to Marshall County’s youth without funding from the city.
City Administrator Jessica Kinser said the city is allowed to sell the building for that amount if they wish based on Chapter 403, Section 8, under Iowa’s Urban Renewal statutes.
“22 N. Center St. is in a Urban Renewal Area and the city council has the authority to determine its best use,” she said.
YSS and others submitted their RFP by deadline and it appeared YSS’ offer was being considered by the Marshalltown City Council. However, dynamics changed at Monday’s city council meeting, when At-Large City Councilor Leon Lamer said the council should consider offers closer to market rate.
City Administrator Jessica Kinser was instructed by council to contact a realtor and determine the building’s market value.
“We need space to do our work,” Hicks said. “We completed the RFP in September. The RFP did not specify a minimum or maximum bid, and no bid limitations. We came in at $35 to recognize our anniversary knowing full well we will put much more resources back into the community which will exceed the value of the building. Youth make up 50 percent of our (the county’s) population and 100 percent of our future. We work to make youth and families viable so they can work in the community. That is an investment the city does not have to pay.”
After submitting the RFP, YSS applied to the local Anne Keyser Trust Foundation for $50,000 to make repairs at 22 N. Center St.
The application was accepted.
Hicks told the council at Monday night’s meeting he and the board envisioned melding the grant award with a capital campaign to raise more funds. Hicks said he was planning to visit with Kinser in the immediate future to express interest in working with the city council to make it an easier transition.
“We will see what develops and will be ready to respond if necessary,” Hicks said. “If the city decides to sell the building at market value, it may exceed what we have the ability to pay.”
Hicks said if the YSS offer is accepted by the city, he envisions the building being a one-stop shop for human service needs.
“We would be adjacent to city housing (the city’s Housing and Community Development Department) where we often are in lock-step with the same population, so it would be a natural partnership.”
The MPD moved into 22 N. Center St. — the former Northwestern Bell building — in 1982 with a force of 40.
Over the years, civilian and uniform staff increased, resulting in overcrowding.
Also, personnel identified severe deficiencies such as a severe lack of segregated facilities for suspects, victims and witnesses.
Marshalltown Chief of Police Mike Tupper later declared the building unsafe for civilian and uniform staff, as well as the public.
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