From improving traffic efficiency to the addition of a new park, the city is reviewing the next five years of capital improvement projects.
Each year, the Ames City Council approves changes to the long-range plan which focuses on physical improvements "related to land, buildings, public infrastructure and major equipment and vehicle expenditures," according to city documents.
The council held a workshop Tuesday evening on the Capital Improvements Plan, part of the city's budgeting process which takes place in the early months of the year. A public hearing on the plan will be held Jan. 25 during the regular council meeting.
In the next five years, the city plans $289 million capital improvements projects — $57 million more than the plan approved in 2021.
The plan calls for 40 percent of the projects to cover transportation, 46% on utilities, 13% on culture and recreation and 1% on public safety. The council also identified $750,000 in community development and $375,000 on general government projects. It is expected that 48% of the expenditures will be paid by taking on debt.
"I don't think we overdo it in debt. We're pretty prudent and we try to pay off our debt quickly," City Manager Steve Schainker said Tuesday, though the city has not received a Triple-A bond rating.
As in previous years, some projects have not yet been included in the plan.
Due to the density of Campustown, the city plans to relocate Ames Fire Station #2 to a safer location. The city also identified a need for a fourth fire station. A new animal control shelter will be built as the Ames Animal Shelter outgrows its current space.
The plan now includes the indoor aquatics center, an estimated $31.2 million project which is up for a $10 million state tax rebate. The center will replace the current municipal pool set for demolition this spring.
Once again, the plan includes the future downtown plaza set for construction this year. The plaza will include a green space and a water feature that will transform into an ice rink each winter.
Here are three other projects included in the capital improvements plan:
As part of the development plan, Ada Hayden Heritage Park, formerly known as Rose Prairie, will include the addition of a new park in Ames.
The park, part of the Hayden's Preserve Development, will include a small shelter, a play structure with swings and a basketball court. The project will cost $200,000.
Ada Hayden will also get some improvements as part of the capital improvements plan. The pam includes a new wetland overlook, path improvements and a renovation of Jensen's Pond. The projects will total $1.7 million over five years.
Technology to improve transportation
Over the next four years, the city will implement more technology known as an Intelligent Transportation System, which aims to improve flow for both vehicles and pedestrians.
The system performs real-time optimization of traffic and pedestrians at intersections, improving efficiency. For 2022 and 2023, the city will target Grand Avenue, extending north on Duff Avenue to 24th Street. The following year will feature improvements on Lincoln Way near Campustown to West Ames, as well as South Dakota Avenue and Mortensen Road.
The following two phases will focus on Stange Road and northwest Ames, then South 16th Street, South Grand Avenue and South Dayton Avenue. The four phases will total $7.9 million.
In the same vein of improving efficiency, CyRide will be adding new technology to its service, including passenger app improvements for scheduling rides and interior signage listing upcoming stops. The projects will total $440,000.
Steps toward accessibility
The city has also outlined projects that will help align Ames with federal accessibility requirements. This could include sidewalk, ramp improvements and additional accessibility improvements at traffic signals.
The project will add truncated domes that serve as warning pads that can be detected by a walking cane before entering an intersection.
The parks will also get some accessibility improvements, costing $125,000 over five years. CyRide has also included accessibility in its improvement plans. The project is expected to total $1 million.
Keeping up with council:
Read the full CIP here.
For more information on future meetings, city documents and council agendas, visit cityofames.org/CCmeetings. Find recordings of past meetings or watch future meetings live at youtube.com/AmesChannel12.
This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: Ames to hold public forum on $289 million capital improvements plan