MAHASKA COUNTY — Pella City Manager Michael Nardini discussed a proposed urban renewal plan with the Mahaska County Boar of Supervisors on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
The proposed Lely Urban Renewal Plan, Nardini said, would facilitate construction of a facility on the Marion and Mahaska county line. The development would consist of a 65-acre industrial development near exit 44 on the Hwy. 163 interchange.
Nardini said Pella is seeking the public right of way from Mahaska County for Adams Avenue and 150th Avenue to improve that section of road.
“The City of Pella would undertake the public improvements, but before we could undertake the public improvements in a separate agreement outside of this, we would have to come and get your consent to upgrade the road,” he said. “What’s being proposed is this would all be at the City of Pella’s costs. There would be no cost to Mahaska County for the road improvements but that would be a separate agreement that we would have to enter into with you folks to upgrade this portion of the road.”
In addition to improving those roads, the proposed Lely Urban Renewal plan also consists of water and sanitary sewer extensions to the site, where Lely North American plans to build a new headquarters.
Lely North American currently employs over 1,300 individuals worldwide, Nardini said, and roughly 55 people at the Lely facility in Pella, approximately 25 percent of which live in Mahaska County.
“In addition to the headquarters, they’re also planning to expand their workforce. The workforce expansion would mean an additional 15 jobs,” Nardini said. “Because the jobs quality as high-paying jobs, it qualified for state incentives under the Iowa Department of Economic Development around $745,000. And as you folks are aware, any time firms qualify for state incentives, there is always a local match that’s required in order to facilitate the development.”
Nardini said anytime cities look to establish urban renewal plans, they always have to be in conformance with the city’s comprehensive plan.
“Back in 2014, we spent a considerable amount of time reviewing our comprehensive plan. One of the major initiatives in 2014 for our top plan was to identify additional heavy industrial areas in our community that’s currently referred to in our zoning terminology as M2,” he said. “We are lacking that capability or lacking available property to develop for heavy industrial zoning, so we spent a considerable bit of time looking at this.”
Nardini said the City of Pella would need the same approval for the proposed Lely Urban Renewal Plan from the Marion County Supervisors.
Supervisor Steve Parker asked whether the plan would be for a waterline extension from Mahaska Rural Water or Pella water.
That would be the City of Pella, Nardini said.
“My understanding where the territory line lies over the county line road, so everything to the east would be Mahaska Rural Water but this is in our territory so it’s going to be City of Pella water.”
Action on the proposed Lely Urban Renewal Plan is expected at the Supervisors’ next meeting on Sept. 16.
Other board business
• The supervisors authorized transfer of $9,732 from the county’s general fund to the Law Enforcement Center Improvement fund to finish paying for the improvements. Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Groenendyk said most of the improvements were paid with the leftover penny tax.
• Mahaska County Ag and Rural Development Director Deann DeGroot presented an application from Kelderman Manufacturing for revolving loan funds. The supervisors approved the request of a loan of $150,000 at 2.5 percent interest for five years.