The Iowa Transportation Commission approved state grants today for road projects for Clinton, Altoona and Greene County. The Green County project was awarded $425,000 in what’s called a Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy or RISE grant to improve a roadway located northeast of the city of Paton.
Assistant Greene County engineer, Don Van Gilder, says the roadway improvement is needed for Bauer Built Manufacturing, after John Deere purchased the company’s planter operation. “They will be building the metric planters for the global market,” Van Gilder says. He says the truck traffic on the roadway will increase by four times or more as the planters are built and shipped. “This a really good project for, I think, Greene County to put their name on a global market. That’s very,very exciting for Greene County,” Van Gilder told the commission.”
Craig Markley, a DOT planner, explained the details of the grant to the commission. “The proposed improvements will result in the creation of 50 new full-time jobs within three years, along with 12-million in associated capital investment,” Markley says. Van Gilder says the plant will produce around 1,000 planters each year.
The City of Clinton was given a RISE grant of nearly $450,000 to add a right-turn lane on Iowa 136 on the northwest side of town in the Lyons Business and Technology Park. Clinton Mayor, Mark Vulich, says this will allow access to seven more lots in the business park. “It has shown some great promise and has generated a tremendous amount of job growth in the last few months,” Vulich says.
Rich Phelan of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation told the commission the roadway access is important and cited the recent $5-million development by Data Dimensions company. “The Data Dimensions project would not have gone through if we had not had shovel ready property. The purpose of this grant — as you are well aware — is to make more lots shovel ready,” Phelan says. The grant is for 50-percent of the project.
The City of Altoona was awarded $228,000 to provide access to Dayton Freight Lines a trucking terminal, which will support the creation of 35 new jobs along with nearly five-million dollars in associated capital investment. Aaron Putnam with Altoona told the commission they have had good luck with previous state grants. “The last time you approved a RISE project for us, it was for a business park. Facebook came in and bought the whole business park, so I’m hoping for the same kind of result this time,” Putnam said, getting a laugh from commissioners.
The commission not only gave out new money, it also approved a settlement with the City of Davenport for a grant that did not create the jobs promised. Markley says Davenport was given a $250,000 grant for road work for Evolution Tools in 2007 with the promise to create 36 new jobs. Markley says the company was only able to retain and create an average of 27 jobs. Davenport officials agreed to pay the state back $38,940 of the grant.
The Transportation Commission approved the grants and grant settlement at its meeting today in Ames.