Friday, March 06, 2020
USDA Grant Submission Culminates Helgerson Flats Certification
USDA Rural Business Development Grant money in the amount of $142,347 is being sought by City of Ottumwa officials as part of the finishing touches to Helgerson Flats, Iowa's 23rd Certified Site in Ottumwa. At its very core, this s a collaborative project that was identified during the certification process by (former) Ottumwa Economic Development Corp. now known as Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress (Partners), along with Area 15 Regional Planning Commission (RPC), the Ottumwa team is working closely with city staff to acquire the financial resources to reconstruct the intersection at N. Court and Fox Sauk Rd.- an area know to be difficult to maneuver by industrial transportation equipment.
As the only ingress/egress (in-out route) to the property, a widening of the curb will allow for greater convenience, maneuverability, and safety at the intersection. "Our existing industrial customers, from Servpro and Southern Iowa Mechanical, to Alliant Energy and Plastipak Packaging, have long asked for a more convenient roadway into the industrial site, and we know these changes will help market the remaining 77 acres for sale in Helgerson Flats" Partners VP of Industrial Development Sharon Stroh states.
The modification, which includes the purchase of .034 acres from Iowa National Guard executives, has been a work in progress by Partners since early 2019. "The Guard team has been extremely supportive of the transaction, and understands our need to have greater mobility at the intersection. Partners has set aside its own assets, and will give an amount equal to the purchase price to City of Ottumwa for acquisition" adds Stroh. The estimated transaction value is $436.
Additionally, Partners has appropriated $7,500 from previous grant assets to provide the engineered drawings and cost estimates for the modification of approximately a 50-foot radius. No taxpayer funds have been used for the project. At the present time, estimated project bid-letting will be in late summer, with a two-week construction timeframe, and a completion date prior to the end of 2020, if all goes as planned. Industrial customers will be briefed on the project specifics in the near future, and in the meantime, have provided letters of support for the application, so are well aware of the project status.
Partners has invested nearly $160,000 towards the certification of Helgerson Flats since its inception in 2017, including a Traffic Impact Study, which was presented to City Council at its August 21, 2019 regular meeting. Options revealed at that time were either too expensive, or not warranted by IDOT evaluation. Curb modification is the least invasive and the least expensive of all methods evaluated, which bodes well for all parties.
Partners would like to thank all those at City Hall, Area 15 RPC, and USDA who have worked diligently to prepare a strong proposal that substantiates the request for funding.