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Local

Design work moving forward at Newton DMACC greenspace

DMACC Executive Director of Business Resources Kim Didier tells the city council about the plans to redevelop the greenspace on the DMACC Maytag Campus during the council meeting on Monday.
DMACC Executive Director of Business Resources Kim Didier tells the city council about the plans to redevelop the greenspace on the DMACC Maytag Campus during the council meeting on Monday.

A $75,000 contribution to the design phase of DMACC Greenspace project was approved by city council on Monday. OPN Architects/Hitchcock, led by Jack Topp, was approved to provide three design concepts for the greenspace by project leaders, DMACC, the City of Newton and the Newton Development Corporation.

“The City of Newton has been working with several partners to finalize a design contract for the DMACC Greenspace,” city administrator Matt Muckler said. “The 3.5 acre greenspace where the former Plant 1 factory building was located is now owned by DMACC and positioned to be a focal point of the larger campus and neighborhood redevelopment.”

OPN Architects/Hitchcock was selected from a pool of eight submissions to provide three distinct design concepts for the greenspace at a contracted amount of $88,000. Along with the city’s contribution, the Jasper Community Foundation will provide a $13,000 grant to fund the remainder of the costs.

“The goal of the greenspace is to create a destination as opposed to a common greenspace youmight see anywhere,” Kim Didier, DMACC’s executive director of business resources, said. “We’re really hoping that it will pull people into Newton, not only to visit the space but to live here, to occupy the campus, especially many of the commercial spaces.”

A $10,000 grant for site preparations at the properties between 1223 and 1315 on First Avenue East was also extended from its original Dec. 15 deadline. John C. Gretlein purchased the properties with the intent of redeveloping the land but due numerous delays in the demolition work, the completion date has been extended to July.

“The site preparation activities were to include the demolition of the dilapidated buildings currently on the property and removal of rubble, etc., re-seeding of the ground and erection of a sign which will promote re-development of the property,” Muckler said.

Deadlines to complete that work have been pushed to April 15 for demolition and removal of rubble, etc., June 15 for grading, and July 15 for re-seeding of the ground and erection of a sign to promote site re-development. When complete the city anticipates the redeveloped land will increase employment activities, improve the city’s curb appeal, and increase local shopping options.

A public hearing has been also scheduled for Feb. 26 for the City of Newton budget. Following the public hearing, the council will look to adopt the budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

In the proposed budget, the city tax levy will remain the same at $17.14 per $1,000 taxable value. It also has the city’s general fund undesignated reserves at 25 percent of budgeted revenues, which is in accordance to city policy.

For city staff, a 2.5 percent cost of living increase, which was negotiated for union employees, will be included for all employees, along with any step increases called for in adopted schedules. The city will choose to vacate the fire marshal position following the retirement of current fire marshal Mike Knoll and reduce the patrol officers for the Newton Police Department by one.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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