Pella City Council takes big steps toward city projects

PELLA — The City of Pella, Marion County and PR DEV, LLC, are working together to address the demands of workforce housing in the county by constructing the Prairie Ridge Housing Development.

On Tuesday, Pella City Council approved a development agreement between the city, the county and PR DEV, LLC to construct 93 single-family houses and 25 condo/townhomes, each estimated to cost $180,000 to $250,000. The development will be located north of the west intersection of Fifield Road and Washington Street/Highway G28 in Pella.

Onsite public infrastructure costs are estimated at $4.7 million, which includes the extension of Fifield Road into the development to provide additional access, a force main, pumping station and storm sewer. An additional $1 million is expected for a water main extension, with the total cost of the project estimated at $5.6 million. Completion is slated for fall 2020.

Based on the development agreement, PR DEV, LLC will construct the onsite public infrastructure improvements required by the City of Pella. Marion County is responsible for reimbursing PR DEV, LLC a total of $4.5 million in infrastructure costs associated with streets and electricity after it is dedicated to the city. The county will also receive low and moderate income tax revenues generated by the development.

The City of Pella’s primary role is to serve as the government liaison for the project, and they are also responsible for constructing the water main extension. The development agreement also formed a four-person oversight committee to ensure the housing units are constructed to city standards. The committee will have a representative from the City of Pella, Marion County, PR DEV, LLC and GENLINK.

The Marion County Board of Supervisors reviewed to enter into the agreement during a regular meeting held May 12. A public hearing date to further review/discuss the agreement on a county level was set for June 9 during a regular meeting held May 26.

Pella City Administrator Mike Nardini says the development is intended to address both the city and county’s growing need for workforce housing. A Marion County Housing Assessment identified an additional 966 housing units are needed by the year 2025 to meet the demand for housing in Pella alone.

In other news:

- Council awarded a bid/construction contract to Wicks Construction for the Pella Municipal Airport Runway 16/34 Rehabilitation Project, estimated at $1.4 million. A $1.6 million grant received by the Federal Aviation Association as a result of CARES Act funding will be used to pay for the project. The runway will be closed from Aug. 1 through Oct. 1 to complete the project.

- Council approved a change order with Excel Utility Contractors by reducing the contract price by $1.4 million. The developer will extend a 72-mile fiber-optic network to all homes and businesses within city limits for high-speed internet and video services. The service line portion of the project will be rebid to approve an alternative contract this summer due to an unusually high bid from the developer. The new contract for the main lines of the fiber build-out will cost $7.4 million.

- Council accepted land from Wonder Spelen, located at 1338 Main Street, for an all-inclusive playground. In 2019, the council partnered with Wonder Spelen to develop the playground and improve Kiwanis Park. Wonder Spelen was responsible for purchasing land for the project and donating it to the city as part of the agreement.

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