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Housing for new IPB employees before council

June 9, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Filling local housing needs expected with an employee influx for the Iowa Premium Beef plant in Tama was before the Tama City Monday night.

First, Frank Levy, a West Des Moines housing developer, made a pitch to build multi-family townhouses or similar units on city-owned land in the northwestern section of the Indian Hills Addition

However, Levy's plan may have taken a detour. Marty Wymore, executive director of the Region 6 Planning Commission, told the council and Levy he had received word just that afternoon funding guidelines had changed for the Community Development Block Grant program for which Levy was relying upon for the construction.

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Wymore said it appeared the program would be for construction in "brown field areas."

This shifted discussion to the vacant square block site of the former Tama Primary which had occupied the 900 block of State Street (U.S. Highway 63.) A second possible location discussed briefly was city-owned lots along East 3rd Street.

Levy said his company, Newbury Living, has built housing for working families across Iowa and listed Clear Lake, Pella and Mason City as just some of the locations. The company is currently building an apartment project in La Porte City in which Hardon's Tama, is the mechanical contractor, he said.

Levy said the properties his firm envision for Tama are "solid apartments suitable for working class families."

"They're not glitzy - not over-the-top in terms of facade," he said.

But he emphasized with the anticipated starting wage scale of $13 - $15 at IPB apartment projects will not qualify for a federal lower income housing tract program.

Levy said his company had been in contact with Iowa Premium Beef concerning employee homes here.

The plant is expected to employ as many as 600 when it reopens the former Iowa Quality Beef- Tama Pack which has been closed for 10 years.

Levy also said a project near the Tama-Toledo Family Aquatic Center in Toledo is also under study.

Wymore told council members "There is a huge need for housing in this area. Tama's certainly on a target list."

East 5th Street Improvements

Planned improvements to East 5th Street in Tama are temporarily on hold was the word from Lindsay Beaman, Snyder and Associates engineer who has been working on the project.

Along with Wymore, who has helped with funding, she said the project still awaits environmental review completion and work cannot begin until the requirements are known.

The city has a federal roads grant totaling $300,000 for improvements of a truck route from Business Highway 30 to Jackson Street on 5th. The grant requires a 20 percent city funding match.

In addition, Tama has a CDBG totaling $600,000 for sanitary sewer improvements which may also be devoted to 5th Street or other specific areas according to John Lloyd, public works director.

Wymore said it is believed the restriction for the $300,000 will be lifted and then only can be applied to help pay for 5th Street improvements from State to Business 30.

The council has designated 5th Street as a truck route but does not want to lift restrictions until the roadway is actually improved, officials said.

In other business the council:

learned Iowa Premium Beef has asked for a fire sprinkler waiver for coolers and freezers for a $5 million distribution center addition to the plant at Tama because the lines would freeze. The council also asked to see plans for the addition of two fire hydrants and stand pipes which IPB wants to connect to city water.

gave consent for the Police Department to order computer systems for police vehicles. Cost of the equipment will be less than $15,000 and be paid for from forfeiture funds received by the department. Officers said the department will soon be required to go "paperless" because of changes in the court system. They also said they want to add an additional system which will allow them to communicate by computer to other officers and the dispatch center.

approved requiring a waiver of liability to be signed by those participating in events at Cherry Lake on Saturday.

approved a referendum which may allow for Tama Police officers to take part in Social Security. Officers are currently only covered by the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS).

learned additional bids are being sought for exterior repairs to the Louise and Lucile Hink Tama Public Library.



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