The Des Moines suburb of Ankeny plans to buy the Iowa State University Dairy Research Farm, level it, and create something new in the community’s heart. Ankeny city manager Carl Metzger says ISU has tentatively accepted the city’s bid of $23.6 MILLION for the 1,000 acres of land. Metzger says Ankeny plans to develop the land as an area to be known as Prairie Trail which will include residential neighborhoods, entertainment venues, business districts and recreational areas. Metzger says the city’s purchase of the ISU farm is moving ahead smoothly but is not yet set in stone. He says ISU has agreed to the price but it’s tentative as the final approval will come from the Board of Regents, which is expected to make its decision at the meeting on June 13 and 14. ISU is developing a new dairy farm facility in Ames and is slowly phasing out the Ankeny research farm. The ISU dairy is still running in Ankeny on about half of the farm. There had been corn borer research done on the other half but that’s been discontinued, though the land is still being used for growing corn. Metzger says ISU’s agricultural students who spent a large piece of their lives at the research site will eventually have only their memories, as the whole farm will be razed. The entire site will be re-developed, with the John Deere Des Moines Works and Des Moines Area Community College as neighbors. He says the current farm is right in the middle of Ankeny. “It becomes very important to us to make sure that the heart of the community develops in a way that is compatible with the rest of the neighborhoods and commercial developments that already exist,” Metzger says.
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