New national historic place, demolition of city pool: What you missed at Tuesday's council meeting

·4 min read

An Iowa State fraternity house could be added to the National Register of Historic Places after a city recommendation.

The Ames City Council approved a recommendation the Pi Kappa Alpha house, commonly known as PIKE, be added to the national register at Tuesday's council meeting. The Ames Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously Jan. 10 the house met the criteria.

Story County currently has 36 locations in the historic places registry, 22 of which are in Ames. Pi Kappa Alpha would be the fourth house in Iowa State's Greek system to receive the designation.

The Farm House, the first building on Iowa State's campus built in the 1860s, Ames' Main Street and the Bandshell Park Historic District are among locations with the designation.

The Ames Historic Preservation Commission determined the fraternity house met "criterion A", properties associated with events that made "significant contributions to the broad patterns of our history," according to city documents.

The commission also voted the location met "criterion C", "properties that embody the distinctive characteristics...that possess high artistic values," but this was not included in the council's recommendation.

The State Nominations Review Committee will consider Pi Kappa Alpha's nomination at its Feb. 10 meeting.

Resident calls for pedestrian focus, no future emissions in capital improvement plan

The council took public input on the capital improvement plan at Tuesday's meeting. In the next five years, the city plans $289 million in capital improvements projects — $57 million more than the plan approved in 2021.

►Previous: Ames proposed a new capital improvement plan. Here are 3 projects to look forward to

The plan will include a new park at the Hayden's Preserve Development, traffic efficiency improvements and the future aquatics center.

Ames resident Hector Arbuckle, a member of the Ames Climate Team, urged the council not to lock into any future emissions. The city is in the process of developing a Climate Action Plan and committed to net-zero emissions by 2050.

As at previous meetings, Arbuckle asked the city to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists in future development. In all, 40 percent of the Capital Improvement Plan budget will go to transportation.

The council will not approve the Capital Improvement Plan until the final budget wrap-up on Feb. 8.

Read the full CIP here.

City soon to be without Municipal Pool for two years

The Ames’ 50-year-old Municipal Pool is nearing its last month of operation, as it is set for demolition in March, leaving the city without an indoor pool for two years.

The last day of operation will be Feb. 28, Parks & Recreation Director Keith Abraham told the council before giving an update on how the city will move forward without an indoor pool. The future indoor aquatic center is planned for construction in 2023 and could open June of 2024.

The city will continue to utilize Iowa State University’s Forker Pool and the Green Hills Community Pool and is in discussions with local hotels and private fitness clubs about renting their pools.

The Ames School District, which is building a new high school pool, is not a viable option, according to city document, based on planned usage, water temperature and its outside use philosophy.

Due to the lost indoor swim lessons, the city will reduce the open swim at the outdoor Furman Aquatic Center by two hours to fit in evening swim lessons, ending open swim at 6 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. To make up for the lost open swim hours, the city will add a twilight open swim from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month.

Councilmember Tim Gartin said he is perplexed the school is unable to offer use of the high school’s new pool after a more than 50-year partnership with the municipal pool.

“This is an equity issue here,” Gartin said. “These city swim lessons are important for our families.”

Other council actions:

  • Council approves $306,000 City Hall parking lot expansion. The new parking spots would in part be replacing the parking lot that will be transformed into the planned downtown plaza. The contract was awarded to All Star Concrete LLC, of Johnston, Iowa. Read more here.

  • Council approves $4.36 million in transportation improvements. A $255,700 pavement restoration project was awarded to Fort Dodge Asphalt Company, of Fort Dodge, Iowa. A $2.1 million street pavement improvement project was awarded to Manatt’s Inc., as well as a $990,000 street seal coat improvement project.

Keeping up with council:

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.

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Danielle Gehr is a politics and government reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at dgehr@gannett.com, phone at (515) 663-6925 or on Twitter at @Dani_Gehr.

This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity house could become national historic place

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