Creekside Estates approved to move forward with trail, street

By a narrow margin, the Marshalltown City Council approved on Monday a development agreement with Prime Development Group to construct certain infrastructure for the proposed Creekside Estates development project.

City Administrator Jessica Kinser said the group is prepared to close on the subdivision on South Sixth Street to build 16 duplex units and 22 townhomes. As part of the agreement, the city will construct a public street and utilities access for the subdivision. The city will also pay for the installation of the sewer line which will serve the neighborhood.

The developer would also grant the city an easement for construction of a trail connection from the freedom rock to the skate park.

Mike Hayworth of Rosemont Companies is leading the project.

Two items within the agreement were the source of discussion during Monday’s regular council meeting. The first, raised by councilman Bill Martin, was the trail connection being funded by public funds to run through private property.

“I’m highly supportive of this housing project,” Martin said. “However, there is one area where I’m a bit disturbed. When public funds are used to enhance a property to the point of being very advantageous, which it would be.”

Kinser asked that, if there was not support for the trail, the council propose an amendment that any language relating to the trail rather than voting down the project altogether.

Martin motioned for an amendment to delete any reference to the trail. Before it was seconded, councilman Gabe Isom weighed in.

“If we want to go down that path and stop investing in the trail let’s take off the trail head from the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) planning, let’s cease all projects with regards to it,” he said. “Because if you don’t want to have access to amenities within town based on the trail, you’re completely against the trail in itself and you continue to favor residents of Marshalltown to commute to other communities and use those trails where such amenities exist — that’s what I just heard.”

“I think you’re mistaken on that,” Martin responded.

“I’m not,” Isom said.

Hayworth outlined a timeline of getting the project started and finished. He said contractors are lined up to clear the site for construction.

“We’re ready to hit the road running,” he said. “In the fall we’re hoping to have foundations in allowing us to build through the winter and get on the spring market.”

Carlos Jeer, economic development director for the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, was in attendance for the meeting virtually.

“The chamber fully supports this project including the trail,” he said. “It will bring highly sought after quality of life amenities.”

After more discussion councilman Al Hoop seconded Martin’s motion for an amendment. The motion was voted down 3-4.

The second item of the agreement that caused discussion was the city’s share in paying for constructing the street and infrastructure. Councilman Gary Thompson asked why tax increment financing was not being used for this project as it has been in other development projects.

The total estimated construction cost for Creekside Estates infrastructure is $508,392.50.

“The magnitude of the projects — talking about $1.4 million worth of infrastructure versus $400,000-500,000 of infrastructure is very different,” Kinser said. “It looked like a project that would be our best bang for the buck to spend what remains from the local option sales tax capital designated funds. TIF is going to be there for the big projects.”

Thompson said he did not want to give preferential treatment to any developer over others.

“I just don’t want to open this can of worms,” he said. “I’d rather have a level playing field for all developers.”

The vote for approving the development agreement was carried with a 4-3 vote.


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